Monday, November 17, 2014

Secret of a Thousand Beauties, by Mingmei Yip

Title: Secret of a Thousand Beauties

Author: Mingmei Yip

Publisher: Kensington

Date: November 25, 2014

Paperback: 320 pages

About The Book
Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother's belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow flees rather than become a ghost bride. In the city of Soochow, she joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor's love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting, betrayal and jealousy emerge withing the group.

Spring Swallow become entangled in each woman's story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the strength to forge a life that is truly her own.

My Take
I can sum this up by saying this book was an amazingly heart wrenching read that had me not wanting to put the book down until I was done.

I loved this story. The writer is very good at what she does. I have never read any of her books before, but she has a new reader. I really enjoy books where authors take you on a journey to the past and mix some history amongst their story, and that is what Secret of a Thousand Beauties is like. You get to learn about some of the traditions that the Chinese women had to go through, whether they are bad or good. You also get to learn about the whole artistry of embroidery, which I also did not know about.

I actually felt like I was right there with Spring Swallow, watching her go through everything that she encountered. I could envision all the surrounding areas, different outfits, people and every emotion that they each experienced. I truly felt for Spring Swallow. She was a very strong person who wouldn't give up on life even though it dealt her one challenge after another. She did whatever it took to survive and tried her best to help others along the way.

Not wanting to give too much away about the story, I feel like everyone should read this book. You will not regret it. I can guarantee it.

About the Author

 Mingmei Yip was born in China and received her PhD from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. The author of the critically acclaimed Peach Blossom Pavilion, she has written for major Hong Kong newspapers and has appeared on many national and internations television and radio programs. She lives with her husband in New York City. Visit her at

This complimentary advanced copy was given to me for my honest review.

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