• Courtesan

  • By: Alexandra Curry
  • Narrated by: Emily Zeller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 09-08-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • 3.9 (29 ratings)

Regular price: $24.49

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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1881, the era of China's humiliation at the hands of imperialist Europe. Seven-year-old Jinhua is left alone and unprotected, her life transformed after her mandarin father's summary execution for the crime of speaking the truth. As an orphan, she endures the brutal logic of a brothel-keeper who puts her to work as a so-called money tree, and she survives the worst of human nature with the friendship and wisdom of the crippled brothel maid.
When an elegant but troubled scholar takes Jinhua as his concubine, she leaves both the trauma of brothel life and the comfort of friendship behind and encounters for the first time the tantalizing and elusive notion of "Great Love." She travels with her emissary husband to Europe and discovers there the mesmerizing strangeness, irresistible sensualities, and exotic possibilities of fin de siècle Vienna while struggling against the constraints of tradition and her husband's wishes.
Sai Jinhua is an altered woman when she returns to a changed and changing China, where a terrible clash of East and West is brewing and where her Western sympathies will ultimately threaten not only her own survival but the survival of those who are most dear to her.
The Courtesan is a timeless tale of friendship and sacrifice, temptation and redemption, the story of a woman's journey to discern what is real and abiding, and a book that shines a small light on the large history of China's relations with the West.
©2015 Original Material © 2015 by Alexandra Curry, c/o William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Laurie on 10-23-17

Good Material/Questionable Style

The tale is, in and of itself, absorbing. It's a fictionalized account of the life of a real person. The author apparently changed a lot of the events around in order to make a better story, which is somewhat unusual in historical fiction that tells the life of a 20th century person, but what she did mostly worked. I did listen to the book nonstop till it ended and I looked up some of the characters afterward; it was that entertaining and curiosity-provoking.

What I didn't like was the method of the telling. The author chooses words and situations that frequently make her characters look a little stupid and/or ingenuous. She also likes to employ exaggeration and repetition to make a point -- particularly when she is describing some kind of cruelty. There were times when I wished she would just shut up and move on to the next scene; it was that drawn out and unnecessary. Economy of style is not her strong suit. Also, she seems to have a thing about blood; you'll see what I mean if you buy the audiobook. The word "and" is used to excess.

The reader appeared to share the author's joy in wordiness and seemed to deliberately slow down and savor the reading whenever a lengthy description came up.

Still, with these warnings, it is a darn good story. I enjoyed it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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