Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse

Splendid Novel

This book is a fictionalized account of Robert Hart who was known as the 'Godfather of China's modernism'. Hart was born and raised in Ireland . In 1854 we went to China to work for the British Consulate as an interpreter.

Robert Hart was set on making up for his days of drinking and womanizing in Ireland. He went to China to prove himself and "grow up." When faced with the possibility of getting a concubine for himself, he felt quite conflicted. However, it was what men did in China, even most of the "foreign devils". He got a Chinese instructor and immersed himself in Chinese customs and culture.

He did end up getting two concubines, his first year in China. Ayaou and her younger sister Shao-mei. He taught Ayaou and Shao-mei how to read and enjoyed life with them both.
When he first met Ayaou, it was love at first site. He planned to buy her from her father but Ward, an American Opium smuggler, beat him to it. He was devastated and set out to rescue her from Ward, who is known for his mistreatment of his concubines. Robert does end up with Ayaou but with tragic consequences.

It took Lloyd Lofthouse close to 9 years to research and write this wonderful book. The pages kept on turning late into the night. This novel mostly covers Robert Hart's life in China for his first year. He did eventually move on from the British Consulate and became Inspector General of Chinese Mandarin Customs, the Senior Guardian of the Heir Apparent of the Ch'ing dynasty, and the chief adviser for the Emperor.

My only complaint is that I would have liked to have learned more about Hart and how he became so important to China. I also would have liked to know what finally happened to Ayaou. This book is only 250 pages and I wish that it would have been long enough to touch on these important details. Could there be a book II in the works? I hope so!

I highly recommend this book! Be forewarned, there are some juicy sex scenes in this book. If that kind of thing bothers you, don't read this book.

4/5

Thanks so much to Lloyd Lofthouse for sending me his book! Lloyd, if there is going to be a sequel, please send it my way!

12 comments:

Wow! I really need to read this one. Sounds exactly like something I would enjoy very much.

This sounds wonderful. I love books set in Asia!

This was an awesome book! I'm positive mine was much longer though. I see you have a different cover than I did. I too would have liked to learn more about Hart and definitely would love to know what happened with Ayaou. I could definitely see a sequel to this one and I'd be first in line to read it---probably with you too. lol. Glad you liked it Teddy!

Lilly and Kathy, I think you would enjoy it.

Dar, now let's not fight over the sequel, I'm sure there will be plenty to go around if he writes one. Just in case, I call dibs. LOL!

Thank you for the review. The 2nd edition is the same story as the 1st edition but with better formatting that resulted in less pages.

Yes, there is a sequel that covers Robert's next eight years in China. The rough draft was completed some time ago, and I finished final revisions and editing for chapter twenty-two today. There are thirty-eight chapters in 'Our Hart' (That's what the Chinese royals called him). My goal is to publish in August/September - Lloyd Lofthouse

Lloyd, thanks so much for stopping by. I really like it when authors pop by. I am so glad that there is a sequel! I can hardly wait! I would be honored to review it when you have an ARC. You know how to reach me if you would like to take me up on that.

With my affinity for anything an everything Chinese this sounds like a fascinating story.

Esther, I like stories set in China as well. I will be getting the sequel for this book to review soon. I'm looking forward to it.

Hello,

The release date for "Our Hart" is scheduled for January 2010. The ARC copy you recently received is undergoing final revisions (nothing big--fine tunning the story) this month.

If you are curious about any of the changes in the first ten chapters, visit Our Hart's Website where there are links to free episodes that span the first 20% of the novel.

http://www.mysplendidconcubine.com/OurHart.htm

Thank you for your interest in Robert Hart and Ayaou's story. Isn't it wonderful when a love story lives on for more than a century after it happened?

Sincerely,
Lloyd Lofthouse

I'm looking forward to reading it! I may not get to it until February.

I really like the sound of this one!

Alaine, I really think you would enjoy it.

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