The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo
Hot Key Books, 2013
The daughter of a reclusive scholar sliding slowly into poverty, Li Lan is aware that her prospects of marriage are not ideal, but she is astounded when the most prominent family of her acquaintance proposes that she marry a dead man. In Malacca at the end of the 19th century the old traditions are slowly being eroded, but it is still possible to become a ghost bride. If Li Lan accepts the proposal, she can protect her father from his debts – at the cost of any hope at an ordinary life. But the choice may be an illusion. As far as her suitor is concerned, she already belongs to him…
The Ghost Bride is Choo’s first novel. The writing style is clunky, but the ideas are original and the structure of the story, while a bit slow, is effective. Nothing is simple, even if it looks that way at first. Choo has written a heroine who is both naïve and strong, a combination I haven’t seen all that often, and Malacca makes for a rich, interesting setting.