This was a complete cover buy and I made a lot of assumptions about it when I bought it. I assumed that it was historical fiction – and it is. But it’s also a supernatural adventure – bonus! Spoilers ahead.
Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.
Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price. – Goodreads
I could not put this book down. I read it during my commute last week, and almost missed my subway stop once because I was so sucked in. Choo has created a stunningly beautiful world. The pace of the book is a bit slow due to the in-depth detail of that world, but it’s very worth it. Li Lan, haunted by her would-be suitor, accidentally ends up in the spirit world – a glowing world filled with shadows and monsters. Her journey, filled with missteps, mystery, drama and grief – turns her from an innocent girl into a confident woman. In the end she is faced with a choice between the easier life that is expected of her, and the harder life that would make her happy. And I loved the ending – it’s pretty perfect.