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My Splendid Concubine [Kindle Edition]

Lloyd Lofthouse
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
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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: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,042 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 47 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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9 of 9 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayaou, Shao-mei, Guan-jiah may sound foreign . . . March 11, 2014
By pjburn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
. . . but this powerful story explodes in its celebration of the ability of love and joy to breach the chasms between cultures, religions, and politics. This fictionalized story is based on real events in the career of Robert Hart, or Our Hart, as he became known to the royals of the Ch’ing Dynasty of China during the years between Robert’s arrival in China as an assistant in the British Consulate in Ningpo in the 1850’s, through his rise to the rank of Inspector General of China, and till his permanent departure for England in 1908. Hart gradually assumed greater and greater responsibilities, and as his understanding of China and Chinese culture grew, he was employed by the Chinese royalty to organize their Customs service. During the last half of his service to China, he also organized a national postal service, built a railroad network, established a telegraph service, and reorganized schools. But those activities are only background for the real focus of the novel.

Ayaou becomes Hart’s concubine when he saves her family from being killed. Their relationship is complicated by his rescuing Ayaou’s sister Shao-mei as well, from an opium smuggler who would have given her to be used by business associates and clients. Robert sets his professional goal to be able to think like a Chinese, and the sisters and his servant Guan-jiah show him while his tutor teaches him Mandarin and takes him through a long course in Chinese literature. In the course of events, they make enemies of determined, resourceful men who shadow their movements waiting for an opportunity for revenge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Based on the life of a real person who lived in China during the latter half of the 19th century. A romance, but not especially salacious, the history and the main character's... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sunshine
5.0 out of 5 stars travel throu reading to China's past
this was an excellent book besides the sexy story the description of there living was so real , Life in China has change a lot, I do a lot of trade in this country, do life has... Read more
Published 1 month ago by SARA GREER
5.0 out of 5 stars I addored this novel. most of it is fiction ...
I addored this novel. most of it is fiction, but based on a true life person. It made me what to know much more about chinese culture, history and philosophy. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Linda Kaserman
3.0 out of 5 stars You understand both a man and a nation, both selfish.
Enjoyable reading, however redundant and ungrammatical telling a wonderful tale of the Chinese during the Eduardian Times. I enjoyed it greatly.
Published 3 months ago by MerryPirate
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good book.
This is another good read. It is rich in historical content, romance and Chinese cultural details. The author gives you his opinion of how opium affect China socially,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Tale
Intriguing love story that encompasses the Chinese culture in a manner which not only opens the heart, but reveals ideas that help the reader understand the Chinese mind along side... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sharon Mayhugh
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
takes a bit of getting into but a good read
Published 4 months ago by Ann Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at a piece of history
This book is fiction surrounded by historical incidents. I was riveted from the very first chapter. The characters were colorful and descriptions of the time memorable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Judith Hason
1.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this, but just too much useless conversation
Difficult read. Wanted to like this, but just too much useless conversation. I'm three months going into and out of this, struggling with every page. Better stuff out there
Published 5 months ago by Gilda
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid read!
If you are interested in the fascinating history of China then this is a must read for you. While this is mainly a work of fiction it does take you through their tumultuous past as... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mhval
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More About the Author

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, who worked as a maître d' in a 15 million dollar nightclub for a few years. He also taught English literature in the public schools for most of 30 years where he explored Romeo and Juliet with thousands of high school students.

A romantic at heart, in his award winning novels, he tests true love in difficult situations and the challenges of keeping that love alive. My Splendid Concubine, his first novel, is an epic love story that teaches acceptance and respect for other people and their cultures. Running with the Enemy, his second novel, is a love story that will either cost the characters their lives or will complete each other's hearts. The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova, his third novel, is the story of a man raised in a world of sin and seduction, who craves the love of one woman but fears, because of his infamous reputation as a libertine, that he'll never find a woman to love who will trust him to be faithful.

Lloyd Lofthouse lives with his family in California's San Francisco Bay area.

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