Friday, July 26, 2013

Review of Mingmei Yip’s The Nine Fold Heaven

By Kim

Synopsis for The Nine Fold Heaven (from the book jacket):

When Shadow, a gifted, ambitious magician, competed with the beautiful Camilla for the affections of organized crime leader Master Lung, she almost lost everything. Hiding out in Hong Kong, performing in a run-down circus, Shadow has no idea that Camilla, too, is on the run with her lover, Jinying – Lung’s son.

Yet while Camilla and Shadow were once enemies, now their only hope of freedom lies in joining forces to eliminate the ruthless Big Brother Wang. Despite the danger, Shadow, Camilla, and Jinying return to Shanghai. Camilla also has her own secret agenda - she has heard a rumor that her son is alive. And in a city teeming with spies and rivals – including the vengeful Rainbow Chang – each battles for a future in a country on the verge of monumental change.

About Mingmei Yip (from the book jacket):

Mingmei Yip was born in China, received her PhD from the University of Paris, Sorbonne, and held faculty appointments at two prestigious universities in Hong Kong. She immigrated to the United States in 1992, where she now lives in New York City.


I reviewed Mingmei Yip’s Song of the Silk Road a couple of years ago, and found it fascinating, at times mesmerizing. Many readers here at What Women Write may not be aware I spent a considerable amount of time in Asia back in the 1990’s – with destinations in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. I’m not generally a mystery/thriller sort of girl, but I do enjoy novels set in Eastern cultures and I love the 1930s, so I was pleased to review The Nine Fold Heaven.

The story is certainly original, and Yip is an expert at putting in details to bring her settings to life. I not only have an idea of what Shanghai looked like, but also what it sounded and smelled like. The same goes for Hong Kong, only my impression there is enhanced by memory because I’ve been to that city and know the basic layout.

The Nine Fold Heaven is the second book featuring Camilla and the rival gangs with whom she is entangled. It can stand alone, but if people dive into this one without having first read Skeleton Women, Camilla may come across as highly unsympathetic to begin with. As I got to know her and understood her past, detailed in the first book, she grew on me and I genuinely hoped she would find happiness. She is a strong, brave woman, very bright, manipulative by necessity, and trained not to have emotions. Her humanity shines through in her quest to find her baby son and also in her relationship with the blind orphan, Peiling.

If you enjoy mystery/thrillers and novels set in the East, definitely pick up one of Yip’s books. In addition to the ones mentioned above, she has also written Petals From the Sky and Peach Blossom Pavilion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced copy of the book mentioned above gratis in the hope that I would mention it on this blog. Regardless, I only recommend books I've read and believe will appeal to our readers. In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” I am making this statement.

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