Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
A Novel

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Synopsis

From a master of the historical novel, Empress Orchid sweeps readers into the heart of the Forbidden City to tell the fascinating story of a young concubine who becomes China’s last empress. Min introduces the beautiful Tzu Hsi, known as Orchid, and weaves an epic of a country girl who seized power through seduction, murder, and endless intrigue. When China is threatened by enemies, she alone seems capable of holding the country together.
In this "absorbing companion piece to her novel Becoming Madame Mao” (New York Times), readers and reading groups will once again be transported by Min’s lavish evocation of the Forbidden City in its last days of imperial glory and by her brilliant portrait of a flawed yet utterly compelling woman who survived, and ultimately dominated, a male world.
 

About Anchee Min

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Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao’s Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her first memoir, Red Azalea, was an international bestseller, published in twenty-seven countries. She has since published six novels, including Empress Orchid, Becoming Madame Mao, and, most recently, Pearl of China.
 
Published April 11, 2005 by Mariner Books. 364 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Empress Orchid

Kirkus Reviews

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As the family faces poverty and starvation in Beijing, the 17-year-old Orchid learns of an Imperial decree announcing that the young Emperor Hsien Feng is looking for future mates who, to preserve the purity of the Imperial blood, must be Manchu.

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Publishers Weekly

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Talk about story arc: poor girl from rural China auditions for a job as royal concubine, winds up as emperor's wife number four, gives birth to the "last Emperor," rules China as regent

Jan 19 2004 | Read Full Review of Empress Orchid: A Novel

The Guardian

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Empress Orchid by Anchee Min 336pp, Bloomsbury, £9.99 Cixi, the last empress of China from 1856 to 1908, is one of those historical figures people love to be nasty about.

Feb 28 2004 | Read Full Review of Empress Orchid: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Min's Empress Orchid tracked the concubine Orchid's path to becoming Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi;

Jan 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Empress Orchid: A Novel

People

"A tragedy foreshadows good luck," says one character to Orchid, the heroine of this lush novel set in 1852 China.

Feb 16 2004 | Read Full Review of Empress Orchid: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Focusing on Orchid's ambitions as her importance rises in the palace, Min offers a new portrait of decadent but oppressive concubine life and Orchid's unflagging determination at the end of an empire.

Oct 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Empress Orchid: A Novel

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