Cart

The Ghost Bride

Yangsze Choo
"A haunting, evocative and highly unusual romantic debut"
The Ghost Bride – picture

A haunting, evocative and highly unusual romantic debut

Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890s Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition – the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he’s dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lims’ handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife – a world of ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, monstrous bureaucracy and vengeful spirits. Enlisting the help of mysterious Er Lang (a dragon turned clerk) Li Lan must uncover the secrets of the ghost world – before she becomes trapped there forever.

Drawing on traditional Malayan folklore and superstition, THE GHOST BRIDE is a haunting, exotic and romantic read perfect for fans of EMPRESS ORCHID and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA.

Publication Date: Thu 1 Aug 2013
ISBN Ebook: 9781471400780
ISBN Paperback: 9781471400797

Categories

Author

Yangsze Choo

Yangsze Choo is a fourth generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. Due to a childhood spent in various countries such as Germany and Japan, she can eavesdrop (badly) in several languages. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked as a management consultant before writing her first novel. THE GHOST BRIDE, set in colonial Malaya and the elaborate Chinese world of the afterlife, is about a peculiar historic custom called a spirit marriage.

Yangsze lives in California with her husband, two children, and a potential rabbit. She loves to eat and read, and often does both at the same time. You can follow her at www.yschoo.com or on Twitter: @yangszechoo

Extract

One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. 'Asked' is perhaps not the right word. We were in his study. I was leafing through a newspaper, my father lying on his rattan daybed. It was very hot and still. The oil lamp was lit and moths fluttered through the humid air in lazy swirls. 'What did you say?' My father was smoking opium. It was his first pipe of the evening, so I presumed he was relatively lucid. My father, with his sad eyes and skin pitted like an apricot kernel, was a scholar of sorts. Our family used to be quite well off, but in recent years we had slipped until we were just hanging onto middle-class respectability. 'A ghost bride, Li Lan.' I held my breath as I turned a page. It was hard to tell when my father was joking. Sometimes I wasn't sure even he was entirely certain. He made light of serious matters, such as our dwindling income, claiming that he didn't mind wearing a threadbare shirt in this heat. But at other times, when the opium enveloped him in its hazy embrace, he was silent and distracted. 'It was put to me today,' he said quickly. 'I thought you might like to know.' 'Who asked?' 'The Lim family.' The Lim family was amongst the wealthiest households in our town of Malacca. Malacca was a port, one of the oldest trading settlements in the East. In the past few hundred years, it had passed through Portuguese, Dutch, and finally British rule. A long, low cluster of red-tiled houses, it straggled along the bay, flanked by groves of coconut trees and backed inland by the dense jungle that covered Malaya like a rolling green ocean. The town of Malacca was very still, dreaming under the tropical sun of its past glories when it was the pearl of port cities along the Straits.