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My Splendid Concubine [Kindle Edition]

Lloyd Lofthouse
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

First came "My Splendid Concubine" December 2007; then came the sequel "Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine" in 2010. Both novels have now been combined as one in "My Splendid Concubine’s" 3rd edition.

Robert Hart (1835 - 1911) was the 'Godfather of China's modernism' and the only foreigner the emperor of China trusted. In fact, Hart played a crucial role in ending the bloodiest rebellion in history—the Taiping Rebellion—and he owes this success largely to Ayaou, his live-in dictionary and encyclopedia, his Chinese concubine.

About a year after arriving in China in 1854, Robert Hart falls in love with Ayaou, but his feelings for her sister go against the teachings of his Wesleyan-Christian upbringing and almost breaks him emotionally. To survive he must learn how to live and think like the Chinese and soon finds himself thrust into China’s Opium War, where he makes enemies of men such as the American soldier of fortune known as the Devil Soldier.

"My Splendid Concubine's" 1st and 2nd editions earned honorable mentions in general fiction at the 2008 London Book Festival; the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival and the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival.

"Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine" earned honorable mentions in general fiction at the 2009 Los Angeles Book Festival; 2009 Nashville Book Festival; 2009 London Book Festival, 2009 DIY Book Festival and was a Finalist of the National Best Books 2010 Awards in historical fiction.

"My Splendid Concubine’s" 3rd edition [formerly "The Concubine Saga"] picked up honorable mentions in fiction at the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival; the 2012 New York Book Festival, and the 2012 London Book Festival.

The Midwest Book Review says, "Many nations adopted modernism in their own ways. 'The Concubine Saga' is a historical fiction novel from Lloyd Lofthouse, following famed modernizer Robert Hart, a man who has contributed greatly to China's advance in the nineteenth century, gaining much power and influence for a foreigner during the period. Drawing on heavily researched passages with great dramatization, 'The Concubine Saga' is a strong pick for historical fiction collections, highly recommended."

* Warning: The first-half of this novel contains graphic-sexual content that reflects Robert Hart’s lifestyle while attending college and during his early years in China that may be considered soft-porn and offensive to some readers. If you think you might be offended, please do not buy and read this novel.

Editorial Reviews


My Splendid Concubine

- 3rd edition -
(formerly The Concubine Saga)

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival

2012 London Book Festival
"Drawing on heavily researched passages with great dramatization, The Concubine Saga is a strong pick for historical fiction collections, highly recommended." - The Midwest Book Review, July 2012
Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine, the sequel to
2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine

"Our Hart is a unique and entertaining read, recommended."
- Midwest Book Review, April 2010
"Fine and tightly controlled Novel" - Historical Fiction Society, May 2010
"Political intrigue and matters of the heart are both fully explored. ... readers who enjoy vicariously experiencing other times and cultures will find Our Hart a fascinating journey." - Commentary of a Writer's Digest judge, April 2011
2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine
"A powerful novel whose beauty exceeds that of the book's cover."
- Commentary of Writer's Digest judge, April 2009

1st edition of My Splendid Concubine
"Packed cover to cover with intriguing characters and plot, a must read for history fans and a fine addition to any collection on the genre." - Midwest Book Review, May 8, 2008
"A stunning work that enmeshes imperialism, modernity, miscegenation and plain old desire in a sweaty matrix of destruction and painful birth." - City Weekend Magazine, May 8, 2008
"Those who are interested in unconventional romances with an out-of-the ordinary setting will find plenty to enjoy." - Historical Novel Society, May 2008

About the Author

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Running with the Enemy. His short story, A Night at the Well of Purity was named a finalist in the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

His wife is Anchee Min, the author of Red Azalea (1992), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her novel the Empress Orchid (2004) was a finalist for the British Book Awards and her memoir, The Cooked Seed, was chosen by Amazon editors as one of the best books of 2013.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1035 KB
  • Print Length: 641 pages
  • Publisher: Three Clover Press; 3rd edition edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00578UNLG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,978 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Concubine Saga June 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The Concubine Saga is a fictional of account of a real person, Robert Hart. He was was a British consular official in China, who served as the second Inspector General of China's Imperial Maritime Custom Service from 1863 to 1911. He was born in Ireland but left in disgrace as a young man. He evidently was a very sexual young man and was unable to control his desires, according to his religious upbringing he went to China after he was awarded the position of student interpreter in the China consular service. Not long after he arrived he met the woman, Ayaou who was to become his concubine and with whom he would have three children. According to this story he also had Ayaou's sister come into the household as he didn't want her to be sold to cruel people and he had feelings for her also even though he was in love with Ayaou. Because of Robert's ability to handle delicate negotiations with the Chinese, he was able to move up the ranks to become a respectable and trusted man in China. In his personal life he was still at odds with his religion and his lifestyle as having concubines was not accepted in polite society.

To further his understanding of the Chinese he learned "how to think like a Chinese" and learn all that he could learn about his adopted country and their customs and languages. This all helped him and because of his diplomatic skills he was able to work effectively with the Chinese and be the go between, if you will, for China and China's trading deals with other countries such as America, France and Germany. He was also very instrumental in establishing custom houses, railroads and various other programs to aid the Chinese. Because of his communication skills, patience, good judgement and good relations with the Chinese he earned himself the nickname of "our Hart".
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Mr. Lofthouse is a brilliant author who makes China come alive to the reader. I was simply swept away through the eyes of Robert Hart as he experienced all the nuances of China and its people and customs for the first time.

The romance of Robert and Ayaou is gorgeously written in all aspects. Just a beautiful rendering of an epic love story. There is passion between them, as well as between her sister/concubine and Robert. Two women in one house...the Chinese symbol for trouble! The erotic elements are handled with delicacy, and are quite enjoyable to read, adding a depth to his exploration of the concubine's role in China.

And I found myself wanting to carry this book around with me to sneak another page of reading in wherever I's that engaging.

Lofthouse has a firm grasp on characterization. His studies of people, relationships and their actions and reactions are so in perfect pitch that there can be no question they existed. They feel alive. I fell in love with several of them. It was difficult when the novel ended.

This is a book for those who love reading about the Orient, but it's also for those who simply love a good historical fiction novel. It's lush in details of Chinese culture. It's a wonderful read. Like the beautifully stitched quilt on the book's cover, this novel is delicately woven and created using choice selections of all sorts. It will keep you wanting more from the author...not wanting the book to end.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Julia
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is very well-written, and tackles an interesting topic. It also has more eroticism in it than I expected. I guess given that it's about concubines, I shouldn't have been surprised there were erotic scenes (which were well-written, I might add), but ...

I can only give it three stars though, because I lost interest about halfway through the book. I think there were two reasons for that: One, the author started talking quite a bit about Chinese literature, poetry and philosophy - all of which is quite deep, complex and difficult to understand (especially for a Westerner). I found it boring.

The second reason is that I just didn't connect emotionally with the characters - and when one of them died, I found that I kinda didn't care. So when the author went on and on for several chapters about what a devastating loss this death was for the remaining characters, I understood that I REALLY wasn't connecting with them, because I wanted him to get on with the rest of the story already. Maybe it's because these characters' way of life is SO different from anything I've experienced or can relate to? But even so, the author should have been able to draw out their essential humanity, that would cause me as a reader to care about them.

Too bad, cuz as I said I was enjoying it initially.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live To Read May 17, 2012
By Chels
Format:Kindle Edition
The Concubine Saga contains the two novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine. These books tell the story of Robert Hart, the man who pulled China from isolation and into the world. This book is not just history, however. Intrigue, violence, and romance fill the pages of The Concubine Saga. It is difficult for a reader to be bored, even if there is not constant physical action, the book itself is fast-paced.

These novels could be enjoyed by most people. Although historical, Lofthouse wrote The Concubine Saga for all readers. Anyone interested in history would love these books and learn from them. The Goodreads summary provides a good description of the events of the book. I previously believed that I was relatively informed about the events that transpired during Hart's time in China, but now realize that I was wrong. This book is more entertaining and informative than most any history lesson. Historically accurate and interesting, this book earns five out of five stars.

*Complimentary copy received for this review, does not affect my opinion in any way*
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical romance or non-fiction?
It was hard to determine if this was an historical romance novel or non-fiction. I found the treatment of historical events more engaging than the love story. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Donna Skee
3.0 out of 5 stars difficulty maintaining interest.
difficulty maintaining interest.
Published 20 days ago by Kat
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good read
Published 1 month ago by Tammy J Farsi
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
This would have garnered 4 were it not for the embarrassingly salacious paragraphs describing their sex lives.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Historical Novel
Our country's relationship with China is of increasing importance as its political and economic power increases in today's world. Read more
Published 2 months ago by C. WASH
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many bones, not enough meat.
I bought the book as it was the fictionalized story of a real person,Robert Hart, one of the original "China Hands". Frankly I don't think they did the man justice. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carol B. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Have Asked for Anything Better
I have been trying to remember what part of the description or synopsis of this book caused me to purchase it. Whatever that was, I am grateful. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Hrududu
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as expected
Not what expected..I thought there would be more information about live during the time
Published 2 months ago by Jody Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good read
Published 3 months ago by Lucienne Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Enjoyed the book. Covers culture, politics and includes a love story as well.
Published 3 months ago by jewelry maven
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More About the Author

Little did Lloyd Lofthouse know in 1999, when he married Anchee Min, that he was beginning a journey of discovery. His first trip to The Middle Kingdom was on the honeymoon with his bride, who introduced him to China and Robert Hart (1835-1911), the main characters in Lloyd's first two novels, My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. The next decade was a journey of discovery. Lloyd now lives near San Francisco with his wife--with a second home in Shanghai, China.

Lloyd earned a BA in journalism in 1973 after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. While working days as an English teacher, he enjoyed a second job as a maitre d' in a multimillion-dollar nightclub. His short story, A Night at the 'Well of Purity' was named as a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

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