(From the publisher):
At the midpoint of the Manchus' long sway over the largest empire in China's history, Lotus stands reluctantly on the brink of womanhood. Schooled in painting and music in the hope of securing a place in the imperial palaces of Beijing's Forbidden City, Lotus learns other arts from her father's concubine that are at odds with the teachings of straitlaced Confucian scholars. Meanwhile, her lively, book-loving cousin prepares herself for the difficult life of a wife and daughter-in-law, seeking a suitable husband who isn't put off by the smallpox scars that mar her face. As the cousins wend their way through the seductive world of the senses, a second tale, one of spiritual pilgrimage, unfolds: Lotus's beloved mother has died, and her spirit wanders between the realms, struggling to return to life in the flesh. While Lotus explores the mysteries of sex and seeks an end to her mourning, her mother refuses to learn the lessons of the gods and goddesses.
Original title: Manchu Palaces
Genre: Fiction→ Fantasy→ Historical
Fiction→ Historical→ Asia→ China
Fiction→ Fantasy→ Saga, Myth, and Legend→ Oriental