#DiverseThrowback Thursday - The Ghost Bride

Throwback Thursday #Diverse edition is our way of spreading the love of backlist  diverse books that you might have missed. We'll hopefully be posting a new book every second week, and we'd love you to join us!

Tash's pick

Title: The Ghost Bride
Author:  Yangsze Choo
Released:  August 1st 2013 
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Add it to Goodreads 

Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890s Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition - the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he's dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife - a world of ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, monstrous bureaucracy and vengeful spirits. Enlisting the help of mysterious Er Lang (a dragon turned clerk) Li Lan must uncover the secrets of the ghost world - before she becomes trapped there forever.

Drawing on traditional Malayan folklore and superstition, THE GHOST BRIDE is a haunting, exotic and romantic read perfect for fans of EMPRESS ORCHID and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA.

why i chose it

Before Choo's 2019 wildly successful novel The Night Tiger, there was her debut The Ghost Bride which was released in 2013. I had the privilege of reading an ARC early the year it released in 2013.

The Ghost Bride introduces readers to a practice that was common in the 1800s: the marriage of young girl to a ghost. It is a scared honour, and the heroine in this novel, Li Lan takes on to repair the damage her father has caused to her family.

For Li it is a chance for honour, however this novel clearly becomes divided by the path Li must take and what the heart wants.  Li, at seventeen is on the cusp of adulthood - and in this period of time, she has limited choices.
It's hard to read her journey. She's forced into a shadow world where she must please her new in-laws, but at the same time fight to remain in the light. Her journey is fraught with danger and challenges. Choo doesn't mince the life of a girl in the 1800s who tries to break traditions.

Choo's debut is one that has stuck by me as it was my introduction to the Chinese culture in YA fiction. Growing up , I was exposed to certain culture events and partook in them but this book opens my eyes to historical practices that I was unaware of. Whilst there is obvious dystopian/paranormal influence on this novel, Choo stays true to her background and introduces readers to part of her culture that was significant in the past.

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