The presence of the characters from the previous book were a wonderful inclusion. I hope she gets a book too maybe even with Wu Kaifeng's magistrate friend. I think she'd be like the Nancy Drew of Ancient China. All in all, I enjoyed immersing myself in this book and recommend it and the series to those who enjoy historical romantic suspense in a spicy opposites attract romance with a cunning mystery and a gorgeous Asian historical backdrop.
My thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Loved everything about this from beginning to end. Plus the mystery had some plot twists! Sorry, I feel incapable of writing longer reviews lately, but this was so good. Nov 14, Summer rated it liked it Shelves: historical , romance , mystery-suspense , ancient-history , china , historical-fiction , historical-romance. I still enjoyed this but I found it less engaging than the first book in the series.
In the first book I felt like the mystery and romance had equal footing in the pace of the story whereas here the romance took more of a center stage role. I also didn't quite feel as connected to the protagonist Mingyu as I did to her sister from the first book. I did like Constable Wu Kaifeng but I feel like both Mingyu and Kaifeng were written as characters that live with a lot of personal walls surrounding t I still enjoyed this but I found it less engaging than the first book in the series.
I did like Constable Wu Kaifeng but I feel like both Mingyu and Kaifeng were written as characters that live with a lot of personal walls surrounding them and even in their POVs you felt somewhat disconnected. It was still enjoyable and I'd like to read more by the author. Apr 10, Cindy Eliza rated it really liked it. I've enjoyed both the Pingkang Li series tremendously. Wish they could have adapted this into a wuxia series!
Jan 07, Hannah rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , romance. Jeannie Lin is always my go-to author when I feel like immersing myself in a historical setting - her Tang Dynasty China is wonderfully vivid and simply sparkling with rich detail, capturing both the beauty and cultural sophistication in Chang'an and its seedy underbelly. The world of the Pingkang Li, the pleasure quarter of Chang'an, immediately captured my imagination when I read the first in the series and knowing that Yueying's older sister Mingyu and the intimidating Constable Wu Kaifeng wi Jeannie Lin is always my go-to author when I feel like immersing myself in a historical setting - her Tang Dynasty China is wonderfully vivid and simply sparkling with rich detail, capturing both the beauty and cultural sophistication in Chang'an and its seedy underbelly.
The world of the Pingkang Li, the pleasure quarter of Chang'an, immediately captured my imagination when I read the first in the series and knowing that Yueying's older sister Mingyu and the intimidating Constable Wu Kaifeng will be the focus in Book 2 only made me that much more excited to pick up The Jade Temptress. Mingyu is the famed flower of the Pingkang Li, the most sought-after courtesan in Chang'an with a reputation for being as beautiful as she is aloof and untouchable. But the glimpses we saw of the real Mingyu behind her carefully-maintained mask in the first book revealed a truly compelling character even then, and seeing those layers peeled back one by one as Mingyu gradually freed herself from her prison here was delightful.
It was not hard to be drawn into Mingyu's story, because even in writing Mingyu felt strong and charismatic; unlike her sister Yueying, she is determined, assured and her years at the Pingkang Li have taught her not only skepticism, but to hone every skill she has in her arsenal as a woman and a courtesan. Underneath all that, Mingyu is also a lonely and very tired soul who wants to regain her freedom and shed the image that she'd worn most of her life as a glorified slave, and I rooted for her the whole way.
We got to know Wu Kaifeng less, since there was much less time dedicated to his POV and he was a reticent character even then, but he is morally just and his outward reserve masked a great deal of passion that only becomes apparent after an extended association with Mingyu. He and Mingyu shared a magnetic push-pull relationship that was so much fun to read, particularly with the element of forbidden romance that brought some delicious angst.
The only aspect that could have been improved on this front was the speed at which Mingyu and Kaifeng moved from fiery antagonism and reluctant attraction to open demonstrations of affection - while it suits Mingyu's worldly character to be direct when she's made up her mind what she wanted, I nevertheless feel that the speed of relationship development in the first phase could have been somewhat slowed, considering Mingyu had not so long ago resented Kaifeng for the way she suffered under his interrogation.
The murder mystery in The Jade Temptress was exceptionally well-crafted throughout most of the novel - it was very suspenseful, had genuine stakes for the both Mingyu and Kaifeng and I loved the tingle of excitement that the introduction of every new clue and suspect brought. It wasn't easy to immediately guess who the culprit may be, either.
Unfortunately, there were a few inconsistencies that cropped up along the way, and the ultimate resolution was disappointing: view spoiler [There is no real justice to achieved in the end; the best outcome was that our couple is free of their ties to the case and knows what happened. Not just that, but the threat he posed towards Mingyu was not satisfactorily resolved - that he wanted her was clear, but why? Out of desire? And for someone who was so threatening throughout the book, he was too-quickly neutralized at the end - so quickly that it was almost anti-climatic.
There's also the strange scene where Mingyu confronted him, but he left unscathed and the matter unresolved hide spoiler ]. Despite a few disappointing factors regarding the mystery, this is nonetheless a really enjoyable historical romantic-suspense story with complex characters that you'd root for, a slow-burn romance that puts the trend of insta-love to shame and a richly-woven backdrop.
I do hope there's more to come in the Pingkang Li series. Seriously book 3 will feature Wei Wei right? At any rate, Mingyu who seemed so much the cold, aloof jade and Constable Wu, inscrutable and intimidating made for a fine pair. Unlike Huang and Yue-ying, Mingyu and the constable understand how all actions create consequences no matter how small. Even as he is inconsiderate of his words, Wu understands their effect, just as Mingyu can read how best to influence those around her by look. The Pingkang Li holds many secrets and its inhabitants jealously horde knowledge until it benefits them otherwise.
No less then 4 times did I feel I understood the solution, and in truth my first assumption had been correct though not for the right motivations. Very easily this could have felt artificial. Essentially Mingyu finds herself at the center of yet another murder, this one of her long time patron who she both needs for the stability he represents and despises for the position he puts her in.
Wu investigates, not completely trusting of Mingyu's innocence. Despite herself Mingyu finds Wu intriguing. In the time since her sister went off with Bai Huang, Mingyu has tried to distance herself from Yue-ying so that she may have an easier time settling in. This has left precious few people Mingyu can reliably trust and share her worries with, and much to everyone's surprise Constable Wu is that person. She knows he is a man who will hunt for the truth and won't be swayed by politics or bribes.
She wants to know what happened to the General as much as anyone, even if it does lead to her downfall. Wu is a man that what you see if what you get. He doesn't play games, doesn't mince words or offer insincere declarations. Mingyu confuses him more than any other courtesan or woman he's come across because she doesn't reveal herself through action or word.
He comes to understand her as they come together to solve the murder, but its rocky at first. As in Yue-ying's happy ending, Mingyu has to have the strength to grab her future. Its difficult and Wu doesn't make it easy either, but the future she builds is one she is proud of. Mar 10, Duckbait rated it it was amazing Shelves: romance , amy-read-this. This was a thoughtful, intricate Tang dynasty romance-mystery that explores gender, social class, and the nature of power.
In A Jade Temptress, a courtesan and a constable are drawn into a murder investigation. Because this is a romance novel, there are also feelings, too. Kaifeng is disciplined, devoted to justice, and clever. He seeks the truth, and he's quite good at finding it. Unfortunately, he has the misfortune of being lower-class in a culture that values the aristocracy. He is also splen This was a thoughtful, intricate Tang dynasty romance-mystery that explores gender, social class, and the nature of power. He is also splendidly, hilariously awkward.
For instance, when he's receiving some help from his boss that falls outside of the purview of his boss's job: "You know that I consider you a friend. Li sighed loudly beside him. Mingyu is Kaifeng's opposite: she doesn't have the luxury to be socially awkward or careless with speech. Clever, beautiful, and elegant, Mingyu is the most celebrated courtesan in Pingkangli; she lives a life of privilege, but at the same time, she's a slave to the madame of the pleasure house.
Mingyu wants to be free, but she's aware that it's a distant dream. Freedom requires coin, and any hope of freedom comes with strings attached, whether it be indebtedness or life as a concubine under the rule of a first wife the most common way a courtesan is "redeemed". She and Kaifeng have a history from the previous book which had another murder investigation. When Mingyu's patron gets murdered again, they're drawn into another investigation, in which she's at first a suspect and then a partner.
Even before they begin to trust each other, though, they understand each other and respect each other's different strengths. I was unconvinced by the romance at first I just wanted them to be investigation friends and drink tea! They are both aware of that and drawn to each other nonetheless. At the same time, he sees her in a way that her patrons do not — while also seeing some unpleasant truths that she's not willing to admit to herself.
Also, they both have trouble talking about feelings, and they both understand that there's no future for them: she's a slave to the pleasure houses, and he could never afford to buy her free — and she might not want to go with him anyway. It's all very angsty.
What's really fascinating about this book, though, is the way it explores the roles of women in the Tang dynasty, particularly the ambiguous role of the courtesans. Mingyu offers a clear-eyed view of the courtesans' imprisonment and precarious position, but also their privilege. The fact that Mingyu has power is undeniable and it's very satisfying as a reader when she does use it , but at the same time, her life is ruled by the whims of the woman who owns her and the men who surround her: "a courtesan could scold, tease, argue.
She could even use tears if the need arose We also see the lives of women who aren't courtesans. The wife of General Deng, one of Mingyu's patrons, schemes to keep her position, and there's tension between her and Mingyu, not because of romantic jealousy but because of power.
Mingyu's sister, Yue-ying achieved security and her HEA in the previous book by marrying her rich lover — but her HEA comes with caveats, because she can no longer wander as freely as she used to. It's no longer appropriate for her to see her courtesan sister in the pleasure district either, so the two sisters see each other less frequently. Yue-ying's reappearance in the book was actually one of my favorite parts. Her book still has an HEA, but it felt tempered by realism and it made me feel better about the ending of the first book. Watching Mingyu's concern for her and her attempts to help Yue-ying maintain her position in the household was one of the sweetest parts of the book.
At the same time, Mingyu clearly finds Yue-ying's new life constraining — and I appreciated the acknowledge that happy endings come in different forms for different people. This book was definitely Bechdel-passing, and even when women are talking about men, they aren't always talking about men, per se: they're talking about status and what it takes to survive as a woman in the Tang dynasty, In addition to gender roles, Jeannie Lin also explores power: the different kinds of power wielded by a courtesan, a canny constable, a wealthy gentleman, and an imperial censor.
Each of those works in different ways and has different strengths: watching the play between the different kinds of power was fascinating and ultimately, extremely satisfying. I really enjoyed the writing style. The art of writing romance is the art of imbuing small scenes with resonance and Jeannie Lin is good at that in spades.
The writing is witty and elegant, without being overblown, and Jeannie Lin brings the setting to life beautifully — it reminded me of reading Strange Tales in a Chinese Studio. The mystery is actually good, too: it's dramatic, and it had a couple of unexpected twists I did not expect. I could imagine watching this in a Chinese historical drama or reading it in a mystery novel.
There are also delightful little touches — there is forensics of a rudimentary sort! This was a wonderful historical romance set in a time period not commonly explored in Western historicals; it also manages to strike the perfect balance between realism and fantasy. Definitely adding it to the favorite list. Mar 09, Liane rated it really liked it Shelves: romaaance.
Happiness , indeed. Mingyu and Wu were fully fleshed-out characters, and their motivations, self-doubts and inner conflicts, and joys were all realized. As with the other Jeannie Lin books this is only my second, though - but certainly not my last , the historical atmosphere was excellent, and the writing, quietly moving. It's a mystery too, by the way.
I find myself sometimes struggling with this sort of romancy-mystery-mashup genre; here, the m 4. I find myself sometimes struggling with this sort of romancy-mystery-mashup genre; here, the mystery held its own and added its own tension to the tale. I was pleased with the revelations and resolution. Jan 16, Harlequin Books added it Shelves: , hqn. What she does so brilliantly is expose the dark, deceitful world beneath the sophisticated facade of the glamorous era in which the pleasure palace is a central fixture.
Lin's crisp, clear prose and her seemingly aloof and austere characters are perfect detectives for this type of mystery, which is one her fans will relish. Jan 19, Suzanne rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-favs. I enjoyed revisiting the Tang Dynasty pleasure district from 'The Lotust Palace' and many of the characters from that first book.
Beautiful writing, fascinating historical detail, and a well created fictional work full of danger, romance, and mystery. Rating: 3.
Dec 17, Stephanie rated it really liked it. Definitely commanded my attention during a flight. My favorite part of this series is the very evocative portrayal of the claustrophobic lives lived by these courtesans. Even though this book can be read as a standalone, to experience the wide range of emotions the unfolding story exposes the reader to, I would recommend reading the series in order.
Wu Kaifeng, known as Constable Wu is a man of serious demeanor, having never shown an interest in her, unlike men of the caliber that Mingyu usually spends her time with The Jade Temptress is the second book in The Pingkang Li Mysteries, and tells the story of Mingyu, the most celebrated courtesan at The Lotus Palace. Wu Kaifeng, known as Constable Wu is a man of serious demeanor, having never shown an interest in her, unlike men of the caliber that Mingyu usually spends her time with.
But his strong presence, his demeanor, the way he holds himself, his strong sense of seeing justice through, and the way he is helplessly ensnared by the strength of character that Mingyu hides from most; all that and more makes Wu a formidable character, one that I fell head over heels in love with from the minute I came across him in the first book. Similar is how Wu grew up, his character even then one that was different from most children. How Jeannie Lin creates such beauty in a world where murder, jealousy, and traversing the treacherous waters of Chinese imperial politics is one that continues to amaze me.
I would always come back for more because similar to authors like Sherry Thomas, Jeannie Lin is one of a kind and there is no giving up on that. I absolutely loved the story that unfolded in The Jade Temptress, more so than the first book in the series. I have a thing for strong and silent heroes, and Constable Wu personifies all that and more.
Mingyu is not the average heroine material that you encounter in most romance books, but she is endearing in so many ways that I fell for her just as hard when it came right down to it. I loved the way Kaifeng bought the one thing that mattered most to Mingyu, and yet, waited patiently, biding his time until Mingyu came to him on her own volition. That was profound in a way I cannot describe, because for a woman such as Mingyu, that was a gift that was priceless.
I loved the tidbits that showed the struggles both of them go through to make a different life for themselves together — and that in essence clinched the deal for me. Dec 01, The Reading Panda rated it it was amazing. Her devotion to her sister was so sweet to read, and I just loved her in The Lotus Palace.
I loved her even more in this book. This book is very special for two reasons. First, we get an inside look at criminology in AD China. China is renowned for the knowledge and inventions that came from its culture. China has contributed so much to the world, and this book reminded me of that. Even though forensic science was nonexistent, there was still science involved in solving the crime. Wu Kaifeng not only took notes of observations in the crime scene itself, he also looked at the whole body at his headquarters and took sketches and notes then as well.
He was also observant and made a profile of the suspected murderer. I respected that the investigation was professional even though they did not have the luxuries we have now. Second, I got an inside glimpse of what it must have been like to be courtesan. Mingyu was the consummate professional. She knew how to manipulate men and use their power to her advantage, her only source of power.
She knew when to tease or appease them. She knew how to put men in their places without causing them to lose face. I also got a glimpse of what it must have felt like to be objectified and possessed. She was aware that she was a slave, and she was aware that the men that fawned over her would never respect or even defend her. I cannot begin to imagine the hardships the women of the pleasure quarters must have faced, but this book gave me a good insight.
As for the romance, it was oh so sweet. Kaifeng was aloof and cold. As the story progressed, however, I got to see that underneath his cold veneer he was fiercely loyal. Not everyone is romantic or gushes with love, and that is completely fine. Kaifeng was loyal and devoted to Mingyu. He was her "ride or die". Mingyu had fire in her. She wanted to be free, and she fought tooth and nail to get her freedom.
She was drawn to Kaifeng precisely because he wasn't the gushing type. She was so sick of the sweet words and loving poetry of her patrons that she was no longer moved by romance; she wanted something real. Mingyu, in turn, made Kaifeng feel love and belonging again. Their romance is sweet because they each provided what the other needed. I know that there is a novella about Wei-Wei, Huang's little sister, but I do not know if there are more Pingkang Li novels in the works.
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I hope Lin continues with the series. I wouldn't mind seeing Wu Kaifeng and Mingyu's family completed with little babies! Jan 18, Sheryl rated it it was amazing. Mingyu is one of the most revered courtesans in the Chinese capital of Chang An, during the Tang dynasty. She is famed for her beauty, elegance as well as hosting skills. She is embroiled into a gruesome murder and tossed into a scene of political intrigue, when she is summoned to the house of her patron, the high-ranking General Deng, and finds him beheaded. She approaches her arch-nemesis, Constable Kaifeng, for help they had presumably started off on a bad note in Book 1 of the series to cl Mingyu is one of the most revered courtesans in the Chinese capital of Chang An, during the Tang dynasty.
She approaches her arch-nemesis, Constable Kaifeng, for help they had presumably started off on a bad note in Book 1 of the series to clear her name. As they work together on this case, they start growing closer. This was an unusual and interesting read. This is the first time I've come across a historical romance set in Imperial China, and written in such detail. I especially enjoyed the references to the tea ceremony and the art of hosting.
Most historical romances are usually set in England. The mystery at the heart of the book was quite deftly woven and I didn't see the revelation coming. I had expected this to be a very straight forward romance. I especially liked the reference to how the courtesan Mingyu was indentured to the house that she worked in, and how her wages were inflated till beyond redemption even after she became famous and successful and could draw a high income.
This was pretty much the case for the Asian pleasure system. Overall, a short and breezy read that I enjoyed because this heroine has a stronger spine than most of the wilting beauties in other romance novels. This book also offered a fresh perspective by coming in from a different cultural angle. What I didn't like was the title - The Jade Temptress - what in the world?
May 25, rachel selene rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. Feb 27, Nessa rated it liked it. OUR HERO is a serious man who takes no shit from his job and he's determined to solve crimes and give it the justice it deserves. When another dead body comes into play, the list of suspects are numerous but it puts the beautiful Mingyu in his path again. This time, fate is going to give them a chance at chance for romance but how will it playout? Mingyu is no shy virginal miss. She's had her share of man, and not wanting to judge because it is during the ancient times of China, I can say that it made me queasy.
I did like the chemistry between the characters, which was the only thing that made me persevere. I'm marking it as DNF though technically it wasn't one. I read about half of the book view spoiler [when they have sex for the first time hide spoiler ] , lost interest and went on to read only last chapter and an epilogue. So I finished it, but I missed out on big chunk of the story.
Tam Lin retellings
I read couple of Ms Lin's books few years ago and I remember enjoying them. I don't know what wnet wrong here. When I read romance I suspend my disbelief and I know everything will work out in the end. In regenc I'm marking it as DNF though technically it wasn't one. Here maybe because Ms Lin's writing is actually very good I felt that situation was tragic and I didn't know what kind of miracle can help our couple.
I guess I just wasn't in a mood for a very angsty read. Jul 16, Alice rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , romance , books. Add a reference: Book Author. Search for a book to add a reference. We take abuse seriously in our discussion boards. Only flag comments that clearly need our attention. As a general rule we do not censor any content on the site. The only content we will consider removing is spam, slanderous attacks on other members, or extremely offensive content eg. We will not remove any content for bad language alone, or being critical of a particular book.
Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Rate this book Clear rating 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. Who was that Masked Man? Lin on Life Short Stories Book 1 liked it 3. Want to Read saving… Error rating book. Beyond Dieting did not like it 1. Four leftist teenagers in s Malaya dedicate themselves to overthrowing colonialism and bringing about a better world. With time, their paths diverge — into capitalism, into adultery, into the dark heart of the Cultural Revolution.
Disillusioned and middle-aged, they look back at their lives from the prosperous but soulless s, wondering what has become of their dreams and ideals. Yet such ordinary people once shook the world, and could do so again. Leeds University Writing Chinese Reviews. Asian Review of Books. She is attractive and intelligent but knows little of the world, and finally makes a disastrous marriage to a man, Wang Lian.
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