Thursday 2 January 2020

The Consorts by Melissa Addey reviewed by Annie Whitehead

shortlisted for Book of the Month

"Ms Addey excels at painting pictures with words, and in making ancient worlds come alive on the page"

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Forbidden City series

Fictional Biography / Romance / Novella
18th Century

18th century China. Lady Qing has spent the past seven years languishing inside the high red walls of the Forbidden City. Classed as an Honoured Lady, a lowly ranked concubine, Qing is neglected by the Emperor, passed over for more ambitious women. But when a new concubine, Lady Ying, arrives, Qing’s world is turned upside down. As the highest position at court becomes available and every woman fights for status, Qing finds love for the first time in her life… if Lady Ula Nara, the most ambitious woman at court, will allow her a taste of happiness.

The Consorts is the fifth Melissa Addey book I’ve read, and I loved it as much as the others. At its core is a simple love story, but it’s not the love story one might expect. As usual with this author, it’s clear that the research has been thorough but it sits lightly on the page. Ms Addey excels at painting pictures with words, and in making ancient worlds come alive on the page. 

Speaking of pages, at 132 this is definitely a novella, not a novel, and it's very much a companion story; it might be better to start with one of the other books in the series (which I can heartily recommend as excellent reads), although this can certainly be read as a ‘stand alone’. Having read the other books, I knew some of the characters, but there is no back-story that you need to know in order to follow the events in The Consorts. The author takes the same care with her novellas as she does her novels, depicting believable characters and teasing an array of emotions from the reader in response to those characters. I was deeply moved by the fates of the main characters and, despite the short length of the book, felt a deep connection to their world.

Currently (January 2020) The Consorts is free on Amazon as an e-book - so download it now!

© Annie Whitehead

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Extra: Novel Conversations where a character is interviewed, not the author ... Bao from Melissa Addey's The Consorts

(link takes you to a different blog)

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