The House of Wives

The House of Wives

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
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Two women compete for the affections of their opium merchant husband in a tale of friendship, fortune and rivalry in colonial Hong Kong

In 1862, a young Jew from Calcutta named Emanuel Belilios leaves his dutiful wife Semah and sets sail for Hong Kong to make his fortune in the opium trade. There, he grows into a prosperous and respectable merchant, eventually falling in love with his Chinese business partner's daughter Pearl, a delicate beauty twenty years his junior. As a wedding present, he builds for her the most magnificent mansion in Hong Kong. Then Semah arrives unannounced from Calcutta to take her place as mistress of the house...and life will change irrevocably for all of them.

Inspired by the lives of Choa-Johnston's ancestors, The House of Wives is an unforgettable novel about the machinations of the early opium trade, and about two remarkable women determined to secure a dynasty for their children in the tumultuous British Crown colony.
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Canada,, 2016
ISBN: 9780143194118
0143194119
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource

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lola_jane
Mar 22, 2017

Choa-Johnston writes beautifully. Each of the characters has a distinct voice and the historical setting is vivid. There were a few plot points that I found uncomfortable and ultimately made Emanuel's character distasteful to me. So, the first part of the book focusing on him was less engaging.

However, by the second half, the wives of the title meet and the book starts to come alive. I admit I had a hard time putting it down because I became interested in the development of their very complicated relationship.

h
haileyj
Nov 10, 2016

I really enjoyed this novel and read it in a day. The characters were interesting, strong-willed individuals from another era. I found the author's notes at the end very interesting as well.

s
Si_15
Jun 09, 2016

Thanks for your encouraging review. Thanks to readers and libraries across the country, HoW has hit the Globe And Mail's best seller list. As a Surrey writer, I hope my local branches will select it for their book clubs.

s
southpawdesign
May 19, 2016

Fabulous storytelling. This book is a page turner. Reading it is almost like watching a movie. They sure lived different lives back in the 1800s! This is a great book to feel like a witness of life in another place and time.

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