The Last Concubine - Catt Ford

I've been waiting to read this book since the moment I read the what it was about: a General who gets a Princess from another land to be his 7th concubine. Then he finds out that this beautiful Princess is actually a guy disguised as a woman.

 

Interesting plot, I must say. And although I am very old-fashioned when it comes to romances, because, to me, there should not be other possible love interests besides the 2 main characters. However, to be honest, Hui Wei does not sleep with anyone of his concubines once he meets Lan. So, in spite of being married, for political reasons, he never "cheated" on her, and never loved anyone besides Lan. (Yayy!)

 

In this story, Hui Wei, the General, has a wife (who is also the mother of his 6 children), and 5 concubines. When he gets this new concubine, Lan'xiu, he avoids visiting her bedchamber for several weeks, just to confront her brother.

 

I liked Lan immediately. She was nice and very princess-like. Thankfully, she was not alone. She had her eunuch with her, Ning, who was loyal and who loved her more than anyone. I liked also her scenes with the other wives/concubines. It was very interesting to read how they interacted with each other, and how supportive they were. Of course, there is one who is the Evil in person, so it made things even more interesting.

 

Then comes the night when Hui Wei visits her and immediately discovers she is a he. After a sword-battle, Lan is willing to die with dignity at the hands of Hui Wei. However, he is completely mesmerized by Lan, and takes her as his that night and the following day. I would have loved to read a bit more of struggle from Hui Wei's side, but he accepts his love for this guy almost in an instant. He never tried to deny his feelings and his attraction.

 

It seemed like the author was not sure how to address Lan. One moment the author was referring Lan as "she", then the other, as "he". Not that it bothered me; it is just a remark I am doing which I found amusing.

 

Besides her looks (I can't avoid referring Lan as a woman), she was also brave. Ning taught her how to use the sword, so she was never useless. She knew how to defend herself. I liked that about her, that she was feminine as well as manly when the time required it.

 

I know that Hui Wei was devotedly crazy for her, but I did not like when he was rough with her in the love-making. And I specially did not like that, although it hurt her the first minutes, she was willing to endure the pain for his pleasure only.

 

I am so grateful that this book did not disappointed me. I try to read different genres at the times; that is the only reason I refrained to read this sooner. I thought it would be hard to remember the names (I am a failure when it comes to Korean or Chinese names), but nothing of the sort happened here. And I used to think as well that it was unlikely that anyone could cross-dress and no one would notice. However, once I've seen the beauty of a lot of Japanese men, I finally understood.

 

I loved this book, the story, the setting, the other romantic stories (although, how can a eunuch be a lover ? I cannot imagine). I liked the concubines, their daily issues and support. According to the details of the book, it has 220 pages, but it seemed less, because I enjoyed every minute of it.