The first was this delightful review, in lively Portuguese, from a Brazillian reader:
(I know it's Brazil and not actual Portugal because the original Portuguese editions had different covers on them, and the book she is holding up has the cover that was originally on the British edition and which ended up being used in Brazil...)
I understand maybe one word in ten (and even then it tends to be the occasional "jin shei" she throws in there....) but the sheer flow of enthusiasm gives me joy. And when I tossed it out for the collective wisdom of the Internet to see if anyone spoke Portuguese well enough to give me the gist of what she is saying, a firend of a friend came up with this:
"The girl talks about the book. Gives a description of what the story is about. She liked it a lot. She loved the dynamics of the relationships between the women, the drama of women and their lives. The reviewer loves novels regarding strong women. She loves the history that was incorporated in the book and the lives that these women have. Anyone who loves a book regarding strong women will love this book. She found it very refreshing and was able to get lost in the book. She highly recommends this book.
Now I want to read this book. lol"
Good enough. That makes me happy.
I also didn't quite realise that people continued posting their reviews to Goodreads long after the original publication date of the novel.
Aside from the readers who obstinately did not read the Author's Note or, apparently, pay attention to the names within this story closely enough to realise that this was NOT a novel of strictly historical China (otherwise I would have called it China, not Syai!) - and who, thusly, berated the author and took the book to task for having "silly magical stuff" in it (despite it being presented BY THE AUTHOR as a historical fantasy from the outset...) - there were some surprisingly heartwarming bits in there. Witness this one, from just over a year ago:
Feb 17, 2012
Tonya rated it 4 of 5 stars
It was the recommendation on the front that intrigued me when i
purchased this book. "This evocative novel is sure to be popular with
fans of Amy Tan, Gail Tsukiyama, and eve Marion Zimmer Bradley." I
bought it because I was very skeptical that writer could be herald as
a combination of these three authors. I stand corrected.
A book filled with love, tragedy, suspense, and a little magic; I
devoured every page. As I read I was reminded of all the jin-she I
have in my life. All women from different backgrounds that fate moved
our paths to cross and we soon walked them together.
Very well written and spellbinding mastery of imagery that I have not
seen in written word in quite some time, this book is one I most
highly recommend. Gave four stars because I would have liked more at
the end. And I do hope there is a sequel out there somewhere, if not
already written, but being written. These women left a legacy filled
with unanswered questions that, as the reader, you either want to see
the continuation. Or maybe we are to imagine them ourselves.
Or this one, of similar vintage, although my copy-and-paste didn't seem to capture the actual date for reproduction here:
E_bookpushers rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: historical, own-it
Alexander has a way of ripping my heart out with her writing. I can't
read her often because I get so invested in her characters and they
experience such hardship. Unlike a romance that I know will have a HEA
these characters usually don't have a HEA. Some of them live, some of
them die and they are all permanently changed from their experiences.
The chain that brought this entire book together was that of a
friendship/sisterhood so unbreakable that it changed history in more
ways then one for the characters. The thought of such a bond and how
it is innocent at first but then could become heavy and painful as
people change from what they could have become to what they became.
I want to go back and read the first duology I read by her and then
dive into her world weavers series but I need some recovery
I am so absolutely delighted that this story is still out there, still being read, still being loved. Delighted, and amazed, and yes, grateful. And if you have an opinion on it which you haven't shared, please, please, please do - there are lots of places - Goodreads, Librarything, Amazon, my website, my blog, my Facebook fan page (which is here, for those who haven't found and/or "liked" it yet. This author is always more than happy to hear from you.