Peach Blossom Pavillion – Mingmei Yip
In a sunny California apartment, a young woman and her fiancé arrive to record her great-grandmother’s story. The story that unfolds of Precious Orchid’s life in China, where she rises from a childhood of shame to become one of the most successful courtesans in the land, is unlike any they’ve heard before. . .
When Precious Orchid’s father is falsely accused of a crime and found guilty, he is executed, leaving his family a legacy of dishonor. Her mother’s only option is to enter a Buddhist nunnery, so she gives her daughter over to the care of her sister in Shanghai.
At first, life at Peach Blossom Pavilion feels like a dream. Surrounded by exotic flowers, murmuring fountains, colorful fishponds, and bamboo groves, Precious Orchid sees herself thriving. She is schooled in music, literature, painting, calligraphy, and to her innocent surprise, the art of pleasuring men. For the beautiful Pavilion hides its darker purpose as an elite house of prostitution. And even as she commands the devotion of China’s most powerful men, Precious Orchid never gives up on her dream to escape the Pavilion, be reunited with her mother, avenge her father’s death, and find true love. And as the richest, most celebrated Ming Ji or “prestigious courtesan” in all of China, she just might have her way even if it comes with a devastating price. . .