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Jade Paperback – September, 1983


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Edition edition (September 1983)
  • ISBN-10: 0446306207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446306201
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 3.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,091,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Corbett on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a great book on Imperial China. The story is set in the late 1800's. Alice Greenwood is the heroine of the story , from her awful experience at her father's murder, to her kidnapping and life at the house of CHU.Fluent in the chinese language, she just does not fit in with the arrogant english folks living in China. And does not fit in with the chinese either, so set apart from nearly everyone she grows into a woman of courage, strength and compassion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Subramanian on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this unusual book for the painless history lesson it provides as well as the unusual characters it portrays. The cover makes it look like a romance novel but it is much more than that. The story concerns Alice Greenwood, born of English missionary parents, who (with her brother) largely grew up as a servant in a Chinese household. Her first sexual experience took place at 15 with the patriarch of the household, but Alice did not consider it a trauma; rather, she learned to express her sexuality with a freedom and sensual enjoyment hugely at odds with the Victorian society of the time. An important aspect of the story was Alice's life-long love for a young Chinese reformer, which horrified her family and friends. But she had come to know what precious few Westerners in China ever discovered: that the Chinese ("natives") were as human as the Westerners and that their culture was as rich, complex and humane as the culture of the West.

Despite Alice's difference from the Victorian family with whom she is eventually reunited, she does not seem like an anachronistic character; her differences and attitudes grow organically out of her exeriences and she is a whole person, complete with blind spots and faults. Both Western and Chinese characters are presented with some sympathy as three dimensional people who are so firmly entrenched in their own world-view and personal interests that they are blind to the larger picture of what's happening around them.

The book illustrates a chapter in world history that I was hardly aware of, taking place when the Chinese empire was in disarray and both internal politics and Western predation were tearing it apart. The author's research and realism are apparent on every page (to my foreign eyes, at least).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suszystar on June 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book very much. I learned so much about the history, culture, food and customs of the Chinese people. So much deep thought on so many things! The last 50 pages or so seemed to drag on, but it had to be that way I guess because of the intensity of it all. Very well rounded characters that I truly found myself caring about. Great history/learning story for any age except maybe for young teens.
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By Diana on May 17, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Truly one of the best books I've read. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about Chinese history, culture in a page turning novel.
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