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Sunday, October 6, 2013

"The Nine Fold Heaven" by Mingmei Yip~Exotic Shanghai Novel


"A unique and enthralling style. . .flawless." —Baltimore Books Examiner

In this mesmerizing new novel, Mingmei Yip draws readers deeper into the exotic world of 1930s Shanghai first explored in Skeleton Women, and into the lives of the unforgettable Camilla, Shadow, and Rainbow Chang.
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.


Published by:  Kensington Publishing Corp.
Pages:  320
Genre:  Fiction/Mystery/Historical Fiction
Author:  Mingmei Yip

Buying links:  Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Nine-Fold-Heaven-Mingmei/dp/0758273541/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370454080&sr=8-1&keywords=mingmei+nine+fold
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nine-fold-heaven-mingmei-yip/1113946208?ean=9780758273543
Books-a-Million: http://booksamillion.com/search?id=5704542524292&query=nine+fold+heaven&where=All&search.x=-803&search.y=-134&search=Search
IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780758273543
Kensington: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/22622


When she was a child, Mingmei Yip made up stories like “how the moon reached to slap the sun” and “how the dim sum on my plate suddenly got up to tango.” At fifteen, she was thrilled that not only her article got published but she was paid ten dollars for it. Now Mingmei is a best selling novelist and children’s book writer and illustrator.

Mingmei believes that one should, besides being entertained, also get something out of reading a novel. She has now twelve books to her credit, including five novels by Kensington Books: The Nine Fold Heaven, Skeleton Women, Song of the Silk Road, Petals from the Sky, and Peach Blossom Pavilion. Book Examiner praises her novels as “A unique and enthralling style…flawless.” Her two children’s books are Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories and Grandma Panda’s China Storybook, both by Tuttle Publishing.

Mingmei is accomplished in many other fields. A professional player of the Guqin, Chinese zither, for over thirty years,  she was recently invited by Carnegie Hall to perform in “A Festival celebrating Chinese Culture” in the same program with cellist Yo Yo Ma and pianist Lang Lang. She had her solo Goddess exhibition at the New York Open Center Gallery to great acclaim, gave calligraphy workshop at New York’s Metropolitain Museum of Art, and Taichi at the International Women’s Writing Guild. 

For more information please visit Mingmei’s
website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Amazon.

Video of "The Nine Fold Heaven"


Shanghai is an exotic place to me even today, so imagine how intrigued I was to be reading a book about the lawless days of the 1930's in that locale.  Beautiful women:  a singer/spy,  a magician, courtesans and simply the crafty; this is a book filled with the most captivating and reckless of characters.  I was held happily spellbound for hours.

I hadn't read anything by Mingmei Yip up to this time, though I do have one of her other books, which I'll be in a rush to get to now that I've read this one.  It's called, "Song of the Silk Road."  After having investigated, I find I'm literally/literately ignorant since she is a well-received and prolific author who specializes in "provocative and poignant" stories of women in Chinese culture.

This book was quite descriptive, the women particularly being visually available, as well as psychologically fascinating.  I found "Camilla," the primary character simply irresistible.  She was one of those who immediately brings you into the storyline, winds you into her life-images and takes you with her on a journey you can't be torn from. 

One of the best features of this book is the many references to Chinese lore or "proverbs."  I was often smiling and nodding my head to the ones having to do with instructions about seduction and love.  It seems Camilla was a wealth of knowledge and application of them.  It just added to the joy of reading the novel.

The element of organized crime in the book is an added point of interest.  I imagine much of this is gleaned from actual truth of the 1930's gangs.  I got a kick out of this particular segment of the story.  Some of the gang members were hilarious.

While all of the above made this a good read, I found the writing style a bit naïve or a least very different from the books I've been reading this year.  I asked my husband, who is an author, what he thought about it as I read passages to him.  He decided it was because of the translation factor.  It may be so. 

Nevertheless, this is a book I believe everyone will enjoy who loves historical fiction in an unusual setting; particularly in the Orient.

I was happy to be introduced to this new author.  I'll be reading more of her books.

4 stars                        Deborah/TheBookishDame

NOTE:   This review was brought to you in cooperation with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  Although I received a copy of the book, the review is strictly my own thoughts and feelings about it.

Please follow click on this link to follow the recent tour of the book featuring other reviews, interviews with the author and author comments.



Nice review.

I enjoyed this book too. My review will be up on Friday. I never read a book by this author.

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