Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova
Li Lan was a young girl when her mother passed away and her father, disfigured by smallpox, withdrew from life in an opium haze. Raised by her Amah, a spinster servant, Li Lan grew into a beautiful young woman. However, as her father’s business dwindled so did her prospects for a good marriage.
Despite her family’s perilous economic situation, Li Lan receives an unusual proposal from the wealthiest family in Malacca – the Lim family. The heir to the family’s fortune died under mysterious circumstances, and Li Lan is asked to be a ghost bride to the deceased son. If she complies, she is assured a pampered existence for the rest of her life…but at what price?
At first, Li Lan brushes off the offer but after a visit to the Lim mansion, she begins seeing her ghostly suitor in her dreams. At the same time, she is inexplicably drawn to the Lim’s new heir and her suitor’s cousin, the handsome Tian Bai. Before long, the dreams – or nightmares – become all too real and in her efforts to ward off the persistent suitor, Li Lan comes all too close to the world of ghosts and spirits herself…
In all honesty, The Ghost Bride was not a bad read, but I was expecting something quite different from it than what I actually got. I was very intrigued by the concept of ghost marriages and envisioned the story following Li Lan who does decide to marry the ghost and then has to deal with the repercussions of that choice. Instead, what I got was was a brief mention of the idea of a ghost marriage in the beginning and a whole book about ghosts, spirits and superstitions. Given its focus, the book will appeal to those who enjoy fantasy and are interested in Chinese folklore. Unfortunately, it was a miss for me.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.