It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China…
Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.
Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, let alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine— will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?
Lin's Tang Dynasty romance excels at the slow relationship build, despite a tacked-on mystery plot. Courtesan turned serving maid Yue-ying is certain that scholar and socialite Lord Bai Huang's pursuit of her is just a drunken whim, especially considering the undesirable red birthmark that covers part of her face. But Lord Bai can't stop thinking about Yue-ying, and when both become entangled in the investigation of another courtesan's murder, they turn to each other for help, ignoring the social gulf between them. Yue-ying's efforts to overcome the mental scars of her past are well balanced with a bittersweet realization that she could never settle for being Lord Bai's concubine. As Lord Bai's family demands that he submit to an arranged aristocratic marriage, the murder mystery eventually solves itself. Though the resolution to the class problem is artificially convenient, Lin (Sword Dancer) makes it feel emotionally true.
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The Lotus Palace
Jeannine's best book. A story line with strong women characters and a great mystery. Not the typical love first, mind games or challenges until the couple blissfully unites. From midway you can't wait to have your private reading time.