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The Ghost Bride: A Novel | [Yangsze Choo]

The Ghost Bride: A Novel

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
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Publisher's Summary

A startlingly original voice makes her literary debut with this wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists.

"One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride...."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, traditional ghost marriages are used to placate restless spirits. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits, and monstrous bureaucracy - including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets - and the truth about her own family - before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

©2013 Yangsze Choo (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (112 )
5 star
 (46)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.1 (102 )
5 star
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3 star
 (25)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (104 )
5 star
 (54)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    T Higgins 03-19-14
    T Higgins 03-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    "Delightful, Original, Well Done!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Ghost Bride to be better than the print version?

    I would definitely recommend the audio edition over the print. I didn't have to struggle with pronunciations and could just relax and listen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Er Lang - who turned out to be a surprise (at least to me). I really enjoyed his personality.


    Which character – as performed by Yangsze Choo – was your favorite?

    Yangsze Choo was an excellent narrator. I loved how she performed each character and made them different.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Ghost Bride and why?

    Li Lan, of course, being the main character!


    Any additional comments?

    The author does a tremendous job of drawing the reader/listener in to her world. I loved the way the author described each scene in detail, It made me want to learn more about why the author wrote it and if any of the portions of the book were based on actual customs or folk tales.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 09-17-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 09-17-13 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1718
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    187
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    3
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    Story
    "Fell just a little short of my expectations"

    I really wish I could have liked this book better than I did. It's kind of a 3.5, but I just can't quite give it a full 4. The premise is a good one, but the execution was somewhat disappointing. In the first half of the book the pacing was somewhat lethargic, as if the author just didn’t know how to get past the set-up and dig into the story. That at least improved significantly in the second half as the promise of a very interesting spirit world journey took over. There was a central mystery for Li Lan to solve in order to solve her own problems, adding some rooting interest to her plight. I like a good ghost story, and I really did enjoy the Chinese mythology and the supernatural creatures of the spirit world. That was the best written part of the book, obviously the story the author wanted to tell.

    However, throughout the story, the characters were somewhat flat, behaving more for the convenience of the plot as opposed to having fully developed personalities of their own. Li Lan shifted from naïve to resourceful, from helplessly submissive to fiercely independent at will, depending on what moved the plot forward at the time. Twists were predictable and seen far off by the reader, while the characters, mainly Li Lan, remained oblivious to the obvious. If a reader is interested in the unique cultural setting and mythology and can be forgiving of these shortcomings of character development and plot movement, there is essentially a good story here.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah MARSHFIELD, MA, United States 10-01-13
    Deborah MARSHFIELD, MA, United States 10-01-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantasy novel or Ghost story?"

    Not bad. It wasn't exactly what I expected, however. Fantasy novel or Ghost story? It was a bit weird, but the Chinese lore was fascinating in that way. Li Lan made so many references to the afterlife having distinct parallels to the life of the living. I thought this was going somewhere and she would learn some moral or truth (whatever), but nothing ever came of this. I was left to come to my own conclusions there, which is fine except that I felt that she was building to something that never came. Many parts were slow for me, hence the 3 stars, but it wasn't bad.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Partlow 07-15-14
    A. Partlow 07-15-14 Member Since 2013

    Word-Smith

    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Captivating"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    One of the best audio books I've listened to all year, the Ghost Bride kept me awake all night. I also let my young teen listen when I was done. I highly recommend this audiobook!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Ehren Saint Paul, MN 02-10-14
    Christine Ehren Saint Paul, MN 02-10-14 Member Since 2005

    C O Ehren

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantasy, Folklore and Fun!"

    This is a lovely book full of fun characters, and a fantastic journey drawn from folklore. Chinese folklore, very different from western folklore. I thoroughly enjoyed these unfamiliar vistas drawn from the Chinese traditions of the supernatural and the afterlife. The author did a great job of introducing the reader to the rules and the players.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 01-16-14
    Susan 01-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    8
    4
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    "Different from any other novel I have listened to."
    Where does The Ghost Bride rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This one ranks second. I enjoyed the book, but it seemed to drag at times.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ghost Bride?

    There were many moments that were memorable. However the one where she is floating in the mansion of her intended dead husband sticks out.


    Which character – as performed by Yangsze Choo – was your favorite?

    All of the characters were well fitted.


    If you could rename The Ghost Bride, what would you call it?

    The name fits it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neshan NEWARK, NJ, United States 12-02-13
    Neshan NEWARK, NJ, United States 12-02-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    12
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    "Great Book"
    What made the experience of listening to The Ghost Bride the most enjoyable?

    the narrator was great


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ghost Bride?

    to lear about a whole different culture and what people have to do to find love


    What does Yangsze Choo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A whole different experience. I hate reading books but this is great to listen to.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 09-26-13
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Frommer's Guide to the Chinese Underworld"

    It is the time of year when I find myself in the mood for a good ghost story, but unfortunately, this isn't one of them. The premise is intriguing, involving dead and half-dead characters who exist on their own plane and sometimes interact with the living, most often in dreams. Plenty of potential here for eerie suspense and exploration of dimensions of human existence beyond the worldly. Sadly, this potential is wasted and what we have instead is combination of vapid romance novel and tedious travelogue of the traditional Chinese afterlife. There are aspects of Chinese mythology and culture which are of interest but they can't compensate for the predictable plot, 2-dimensional characters and cloying narrative style. Guess I'll still be searching for a good ghost story.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 09-03-13
    Michelle 09-03-13 Member Since 2011

    pm04

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Truly Original Idea"

    As the author/narrator states the notion of the ghost bride is nothing new in Eastern traditions but for the rest of us it is a unique concept. Adding to this unique ghost bride story is a blossoming romance between the would be bride and someone whom one wouldn't think of. Yangsze Choo not only writes a wonderful fantasy romance she truly brings it to life with her wonderful narrations. I hope she writes & narrates a lot more in the near future.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denis A. 11-12-13
    Denis A. 11-12-13 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    13
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    "Dreamland, after life, fantasy all wrapped up in 1"
    Would you try another book from Yangsze Choo and/or Yangsze Choo?

    Ms. Choo did the narration for her book and it was useful to hear her pronounce many of the Chinese names.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ghost Bride?

    Li Lan trapped in her own dream world.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Yangsze Choo?

    Yes


    Could you see The Ghost Bride being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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