Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Stirring Portrait of an Artist

Pan Yuliang never envisioned that her life would turn out like this. When her mother died, she was sent to her uncle's house. He raised her along with the help of a maid. She was to be promised to a man and then be married. That is what her mother's wish for her and a promise from her uncle.However, her uncle had a drug habit and ran out of money. He had to get drugs somehow, so he sold Yuliang into prostitution at the age of 14.

She was brought to "The Hall of Eternal Splendor" and was taught the ways of seduction and "bed business."

She was told to seduce the new inspector, Pan Zanhua. This was very important so that he could be kept in line and continue turning a blind eye, as the old inspector did. However, it did not work out that way. He could not be bought. He didn't fall for the hook as much as he was attracted to Yuliang.

Yuliang knew her fate. "Grandmother," the madam would beat her unmercifully. Pan Zanhua saw she was crying and he got her to tell him the truth. Zanhua rescued her from her fate and took her in as his concubine.

Zanhua really believed in equality and gave Yuliang an education. She became fascinated with art and started sketching. As her career as an artist took off both her and Zanhua become torn between her success and their love for each other.

Pan Yuliang was a real person, a famous artist. This book of historical fiction fills in what parts of her life may have been like. Jennifer cody Epstein really did her research and paints a colourful portrait of the life of Pan Yaliang. I felt like I was there as a witness to everything she endured and her triumph as an artist. The characters are believable and the writing is beautiful and richly textured.

This books is a real page turner and kept me up into the wee hours of the morning. I just couldn't put it down! I cannot recommend this book high enough. It does not disappoint!


Baby Arms by Pan Yuliang


  1. Marilyn from USAJuly 16, 2009 at 3:05 AM

    In the brief time that I've been checking out this blogspot, I've been made aware of many, many wonderful books. As the ol' saying goes: So many books, so little time. Short of quitting my job and suspending eating and sleeping, how can I read them all? Do the bloggers have any suggestions for how I can read more books in less time?

  2. No suggestions here Marilyn, just read, read, read and then try to juggle everything else! LOL!!

    Teddy, I thought I was getting this book from someone at one point, so I haven't requested it from the library, but I haven't received it yet. I really am going to have to just go and get it I think.

  3. Marilyn I feel your pain. I so wish I had more time to read everything too. One way that I have tried tackling this is by reading during my lunch break at work, but have had issues with that as well. For example today I was reading Steven R. Lundin's book titled, "Shooting an Albatross." It is such a great historical fiction book full of romance, and rich history, I got sucked in. Before I knew it, it had been 1 hour and it was time to go back to work. Wow was it difficult to pry myself away. I just don't know any other way to do it though.

  4. Thanks for the review; I just checked and found out that there is a German edition, so I'll happily recommend this one in my German blog - and I'll certainly read it myself :)

  5. Glad you enjoyed this so much, Teddy! I have it on my TBR pile and will read it one of these days!

  6. Great review Teddy, I'll have to add it to the TBR pile...

  7. Marilyn from USAJuly 16, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    Becky, your comment made me LOL. It reminded me of the time that I was driving to work while listening to an audiobook. (It's one of the ways that I try to double up on my reading.) I was so engrossed in the story that I was rather oblivious of my surroundings. All of a sudden, I became aware that I had overshot my exit on the highway by many miles. Of course, by the time I turned the car around and retraced my route, I was very late to work. But has that stopped me from listening to audiobooks in the car? NO WAY!

  8. This story seems wonderful! I have to add the book to my wishlist right away. Great review, Teddy.:)

  9. I hope you can get it at your library Marg. I know that you will like it.

    Becky, that sounds like a good read.

    Gisela, That's great that there3 is a German edition!

    Kelly, Ana, and Alex I know you will enjoy it.

    Marilyn, I've done that listening to audiobooks too. LOL!

  10. This just looks so good. Actually I am sitting here devouring all the reviews on this blog - wow.... you read some great books! :)

    I seen on your side bar that you are reading Pope Joan. I am finishing that book now and I LOVED IT! I hope to get my review up yet tonight.

    Thanks for great reading!

  11. Sheila, The Painter of Shanghi is a wonderful book. I hope you read it sometime.