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I had high hopes for this novel. The cover is intriguing as is the book jacket's summary. The heroine, Li Lan, is approached by a neighboring family to become the wife of their dead son. She then becomes haunted by the dead man’s ghost. I had to stop reading the book after nine chapters because of:

1) The main character reeks of "virginal sweet girl." You can almost peel her off the page with just how much of a "good girl" she is. This would be fine and well if she or any of the other characters were anything more than caricatures. Unfortunately, at this point in the book, no one is any deeper or interesting than a piece of paper.

2) The author has a habit of telling rather than showing. Instead of weaving historical knowledge and background seamlessly into the story, she'll take an aside and go on for several paragraphs about the history of a particular item/area. The author’s method takes you completely out of the story.

3) The story is boring. Nine chapters in and nothing is happening?! The supposed hook of the first chapter still hasn't materialized into anything substantial. The secondary complication of Li Lan finding real love-- which I could see compelling this novel forward -- is also fizzling without passion.

On GoodReads, readers mention that the novel has a very slow start. Well, I have a pile of books to read and no time for slow starts, so this one was returned posthaste!