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Extended Audio Sample Peony in Love: A Novel Audiobook, by Lisa See Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 5 3.33 (12 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa See Narrator: Jodi Long Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2007 ISBN: 9780739344057
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“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.

So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 5/22/2011

    " Not nearly as good as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, though many aspects of the novel will stick with me for a long time. The plot took many unexpected twists and turns, and I was glad I hadn't heard too much about the book before reading it, or I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chrisula | 5/20/2011

    " I generally enjoyed the book. At times it dragged a little, but that seemed like a parallel for me in what the main character was going through. I am a fan of Lisa See and glad I picked this one up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie | 5/17/2011

    " I loved this book. It's a great love story. I read it years ago but definitely remember it "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gail | 5/12/2011

    " Halfway through and cannot read it anymore. Too frustrating, too depressing, too unrealistic. Apparently in the entire second half of the book Peony is a ghost roaming earth......can't do it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 5/10/2011

    " Finally a book that extends beyond typical and makes me think new thoughts. Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bonnie | 5/4/2011

    " I enjoyed this BUT I didn’t like when Peony spoke as a spirit which occurred intermittently throughout the novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 5/3/2011

    " I have never read a book with so much on the afterlife and ghosts. It was intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Not as good as Snow Flower...but interesting to read just the same. I am amazed to read about the Chinese culture and glad to learn something new. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ramona | 5/2/2011

    " Lisa See draws the reader in to the world of her ancestors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carlie | 4/27/2011

    " This book got a little crazy in the middle, but was really interesting. I was surprised to find out that it was based on a true story- especially the part how the three wives book really was one of the first published books by women. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gina | 4/27/2011

    " Would probably give this 2 1/2 stars. It was interesting to learn about Chinese history and customs, but it was hard to relate to the main character for much of the story. It got better as it went along and I enjoyed the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 4/25/2011

    " Another book I read that taught me a little about another culture. There are some things that made me sad about this book, but generally speaking, I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denese | 4/23/2011

    " Starts out a bit boring but then the tragic death of Peony and I was swept up in her afterlife. I never knew the bound feet were sexual. I never knew about hungry ghosts. My heart ached for 3 wives. "

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About the Author
Author Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including Dreams of Joy, which made the #1 New York Times bestsellers list. She was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001 and was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in 2003.