Review: The Concubine Saga
Author: Lloyd Lofthouse
Publisher: Three Clover Press
Published: May 9, 2012
paperback, 547 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
Summary (From Goodreads):
The Concubine Saga is the deeply intimate story of Hart's loyalty and love for his adopted land and the woman who captured his heart. Historical fiction potboiler, yes. But where The Concubine Saga truly shines is its thought-provoking passages on relationships, attitudes and cultural differences. The heated dialogue between Hart and Ayaou will especially touch a nerve for any westerner who has ever lived and loved in China…" Thomas Carter, photojournalist and author of "China: Portrait of a People
The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse is the perfect blend of when fact meets fiction. When this novel first came to my attention, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. I am glad that I did decide to give it a try or I would have missed out on a very entertaining book. I had no idea who Robert Hart was or what role he played in history. However after reading this book and a little Google research, I've come to a better understanding.
Robert Hart came to live in China as a young man. He was blown away by the vast change in cultures. Robert previously lived in Ireland and was a devout Methodist. After moving to China, Robert is inundated by the Chinese culture. It challenges his beliefs and he struggles to make sense of it all. He is considered an outsider and is not really trusted by the local people. After meeting Ayaou, Robert falls in love at first sight. He knows that he will do anything to be with her no matter the cost. This book really has two story lines. The first is Robert's political career and the second is the love story between Ayaou and Robert. Both story lines mesh together to create a captivating story.
The character development of both Robert and Ayaou is very strong. Ayaou starts out as insecure but she also has an independent streak as well as inner strength. She was raised to be a concubine which is basically a sex slave. This was common place in China for girls. Throughout this novel she has to learn to trust that Robert will love her. Robert was a great character as well. He comes to China as a young idealist. Robert utilized Ayaou to help him learn about the Chinese culture. Robert is hungry for knowledge and vows to learn how the Chinese think. In doing this, he does more than he thinks is possible. He earns the trust of the Chinese government and helps transform the country.
The Concubine is an epic saga about the trials and tribulations that took place during the Opium Wars. The characters are strong and inspirational and will move you. There is action, adventure, romance, heartache, and loss. This is definitely considered a To Read.
Come back tomorrow for a guest post written by Lloyd Lofthouse and enter for a chance to win a copy of The Concubine Saga. Click here to read the first chapter.