Reeling from tragedy, Orchid reluctantly assumes greater power over late 19th-century China. And as her nation is divided by opposing factions, only she can keep China from tearing itself apart.
©2007 Anchee Min; (P)2007 Recorded Books
Sadly, I am the kind of reader that no matter how bad the book I have to finish it. I struggled to finish this book. I had not read the first book about this Empress but I never will now.
The story was boring at best. The author wrote in a way that I could not tell if she was referring to her perceptions or reality. This woman sounded like she was continually unhappy and a martyr. I did not see her as a strong leader or someone to be a role model.
The narration was awful. Accents were excellent but the monotone presentation was the biggest reason for my struggle to finish this book. The emotionless delivery was also part of why the empress sounded more like a martyred wimp!!
Don't bother with this book.
This audio book picked up Cixi's story where Empress Orchid left off. It covered her life after the death and funeral of her Emperor husband's death until her death. After reading non-fiction accounts of Cixi's life this book seems to follow the accomplishments of her life and the steps she took as a leader to modernize China.
Although it is a work of fiction, and no one can really know the details of her relationships, she was the ruler of China as regent for two child Emperor's and therefore wielded great power. The paradox she had to deal with was that the Chinese saw themselves as a superior and advanced civilization and so did the Western countries. The clash of cultures was enormous as Eastern and Western cultures tried to find some common ground to begin their negotiations.
As the product of Western civilization and the conveniences of what began with the Industrial Revolution it is difficult to imagine a people who would not welcome these wonders. But the Chinese had a different world view full of different priorities and values.
One must listen with an open mind and learn about this totally foreign world.
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