Mingmei Yip: Book Reviews

Copyright 2008

Mingmei Yip

PEACH BLOSSOM PAVILION is a fascinating story and an intimately detailed novel of a young girl who is placed into a house of prostitution....  The humiliation and yet pride that Precious Orchid describes is vibrant. Her love or disdain for her "sisters" shines through. The revenge that she seeks pounds out of the pages... Precious Orchid loves many men with her body, but only one man with her heart, will she be able to learn to love another? Even if it means that he will save her from her life of servitude?


Powell’s Books:

From a prodigiously talented new Chinese author comes a marvelous debut novel about a woman who becomes China's most successful courtesan. Yip's work echoes "Memoirs of a Geisha," but with a sharper, more suspenseful pace.



Ratings: 5 stars

Fans of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See are sure to be drawn to and find great enjoyment in Peach Blossom Pavilion …

Scattered throughout the book are numerous passages of poems, song lyrics and Chinese sayings that are just as enjoyable to read as the story itself. Not only do they add a sense of authenticity to the story, making the characters and time period feel more true, but also touch it with an artistic flair…

The poignant Peach Blossom Pavilion  continues to linger in the reader’s mind, with many scenes and Precious Orchid’s words resounding. It’s a novel of heartache, but also one of hope as the strong heroine never gives in. With its lovely prose and memorable characters, Peach Blossom Pavilion  is sure to touch all who read it.


Romance Reviews Today:

A riveting account of mysterious lifestyles in pre-Communist China, PEACH BLOSSOM PAVILION is filled with amazing characters and unique stories. Xiang Xiang begins her tale through the eyes of an adolescent, shocked, and heartbroken at her losses. Her strength and perseverance is brilliantly portrayed in this stunningly presented novel. Beautifully written, readers will not be able to put this book down until the last page is turned.


Coffee Time Romance

Rating: 5 cups

This is a beautiful story that I could not put down…Ms. Yip has an amazing story that will keep you turning pages…I was moved by this story and found the character of Xiang Xiang to be a woman who truly knew what she wanted and would work diligently to get it no matter what. This book has history and that pulls you into it until the last page.

Asiance Magazine

June 1, 2008:

Mingmei Yip has written an enchanting debut novel “Peach Blossom Pavilion” which tells the story of the last surviving Chinese courtesan (prostitute), Precious Orchid, the most sought-after woman in all of China. Just as Arthur Golden’s novel “Memoirs of a Geisha” introduced readers to the Japanese geisha tradition nearly a decade ago, Peach Blossom Pavilion provides a vivid account of a forgotten history, immersed in Chinese culture of the early 1990’s, by transporting us to another place and time where prostitutes were glamorous, elegant and cultured women that were well-versed in the arts.

Romantic Times:

Yip’s English-language debut is beautiful and evocative. The relationships between these characters are real and heart-wrenching. Though the West’s recent fascination with the Chinese “flower houses” has led to a plethora of books along these lines, this particular one is rendered insightfully and memorably.

The best novel ever about a Chinese courtesan, June 9, 2008

By: Fu Xi  (Anyang, China)

Anyone who has read my reviews of books about China knows I do not bestow praise lightly. Too many books are written by authors with only a shallow knowledge of this ancient culture.

Hard as I am to please, this novel pleased me more than any other work of fiction I have read in years. I cannot imagine that any reader could fail to be beguiled by its heroine, Precious Orchid. Yip has done what would be impossible for most novelists: create a multidimensional character who maintains her innocence in the most corrupt of circumstances, even as she carries out a plan of revenge that could only have happened in China.

Precious Orchid is an waif, a highly sought-after courtesan, a Buddhist, a master of the guqin (the most refined of all Chinese musical instruments), a filial daughter and, eventually, an American matriarch.

But these subtleties and the historical accuracy do not keep Peach Blossom Pavilion from being a page-turner. It is that now rare species: a literary novel that will keep you up all night. There have been other recent novels about prostitutes, such as Memoirs of a Geisha, but only Peach Blossom Pavilion has characters who will stay in your heart forever.

Fascinating historical biographical fiction, May 28, 2008

By Harriet Klausner

This is a fascinating historical biographical fiction that grips readers from the moment Xiang Xiang explains what happened to her parents and never slows down...The Chinese social system of the early twentieth century encourages avarice and corruption; something Precious quickly learns to manipulate for her personal gain. Her vow is not to repeat her father's mistake of righteousness, but to use her innocence as a tool to live the good life paid for by the same affluent types who murdered her father. Fans will admire Xiang as she does what she has to do, not to just survive, but to live a luxurious pampered life…

Honolulu Advertiser:

By Christine Thomas

Special to The Advertiser


Novelist Mingmei Yip knew her professional gambler father and artist mother dreamed she would become a scholar. Yip rose to the challenge, graduating from the Sorbonne, studying Chinese arts and the ancient qin musical instrument, and became a writer, too, a pursuit that grew out of her first foray into writing-journaling during her mother's eight-year absence while imprisoned in a Vietnamese camp. All of these life experiences are channeled into her engrossing debut novel, "Peach Blossom Pavilion," which brings to life the time of China's mingji artist-prostitutes, who were geisha predecessors.

… Yip's atmospheric tale is elevated above fantastical escape through its cunning, empowered narrator, a woman who refuses to be "but a captive, whose limbs could be twisted to adopt the most obsequious posture in life as well as in bed," and instead fights to improve her fate.

Le Chic May 30, 2008

Novelist Mingmei Yip rose to her parents’ challenges, graduating from the Sorbonne, studying Chinese arts and music, and becoming a writer – experiences channeled into her spectacular debut “Peach Blossom Pavilion.”

Precious Orchid’s tale is a truly fantastical escape, building on the era’s romance and the success of Memoirs of a Geisha, yet told through the voice of a cunning, empowered woman who fights to improve her fate.


What is this fascination we have with the East, especially the East of the 19th and early 20th century - those beautiful Asian women, the tea service, the music, the grace? In Peach Blossom Pavilion Mingmei Yip takes us into this world at a Shanghai qinglou – or turquoise pavilion – the refined word for whorehouse. It’s a great rambling story, full of love, tragedy, suffering, courage, and redemption.

Peg Fong, May 30, 2008:

Peg Fong is a columnist for the South China Morning Post and the western Canada bureau chief for the Toronto Star.

Peach Blossom Pavilion by Mingmei Yip

Novelist MINGMEI YIP tells a familiar story with some surprising twists throughout.

MINGMEI YIP, who has published five previous books in Chinese, shows an impressive depth of knowledge in a range of subjects from the inner workings of a brothel to Buddhist practice to music. She infuses her characters, especially Precious Orchid with a realness that readers would certainly recognize as signs of an assured author capable of fleshing out what may be stereotypes…

Lowry’s Books:

A wonderful story of a girl’s journey in womanhood in a house of  prostitution…

 The Romance Readers Connection   Reviewed By Kathy Fisher                             




June 2008

Mingmei Yip: Song of the Silk Road Mingmei Yip: My Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Mingmei Yip: Qin Music Mingmei Yip: Taichi Mingmei Yip:Upcoming Events Mingmei Yip: Interviews Mingmei Yip: Book Reviews Mingmei Yip: picturegallery gifit shop Mingmei Yip: Contact for Speaking/Storytelling Events Mingmei Yip: Contact for Speaking/Storytelling Events