The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Courtesan


So today I almost finished The Courtesan (B) by Alexandra Curry -“almost” because I lost momentum, interest and desire with the last 100 pages.

Jinhua’s father was sentenced to death when she was seven years old and her mother died while giving birth. Now orphaned, her father’s concubine sells her to a brothel. So begins the true story of her journey from childhood innocence to adulthood as a concubine.

At times the novel was raw but impactful. The descriptions of her deflowering were painful to read. It was sad that she was treated like an object – “a money tree” – and not a human girl who only wanted to be loved. It was a sealed fate and there would be no altering it. I kept reading because the story was well-written and held my attention.

For some reason, once Jinhua became part of the Western world, I lost interest. I’m not sure I can pinpoint the reasons why; maybe it simply was that the story became long winded. I felt rushed to the end without any care as to the outcome. This is unusual for me especially when I have invested several days with a book. Perhaps there was an “off” trigger that I can’t identify.

So my recommendation would be for those that are interested in this time period to give The Courtesan a try. There are plenty of historical details. I’d be curious to know if anyone else feels they have wasted their time. I have already moved on.


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