This would be my absolute favourite read of 2019!
I ADORED this book.
This book is set in Malaysia during colonial times, and is a melding of local and Chinese myth, forbidden love, murders and mystery. It is beautifully written and the world is vivid and striking.
For me, this is a five star read, it is beautiful and aching, and I love this author’s work. She writes romantic, mysterious stories enriched with folklore, history and culture.
Here is the official blurb:
(Taken from GOODREADS)
A sweeping historical novel about a dancehall girl and an orphan boy whose fates entangle over an old Chinese superstition about men who turn into tigers.
When 11-year-old Ren’s master dies, he makes one last request of his Chinese houseboy: that Ren find his severed finger, lost years ago in an accident, and reunite it with his body. Ren has 49 days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth, unable to rest in peace.
Ji Lin always wanted to be a doctor, but as a girl in 1930s Malaysia, apprentice dressmaker is a more suitable occupation. Secretly, though, Ji Lin also moonlights as a dancehall girl to help pay off her beloved mother’s Mahjong debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir: a severed finger. Convinced the finger is bad luck, Ji Lin enlists the help of her erstwhile stepbrother to return it to its rightful owner.
As the 49 days tick down, and a prowling tiger wreaks havoc on the town, Ji Lin and Ren’s lives intertwine in ways they could never have imagined. Propulsive and lushly written, The Night Tiger explores colonialism and independence, ancient superstition and modern ambition, sibling rivalry and first love. Braided through with Chinese folklore and a tantalizing mystery, this novel is a page-turner of the highest order.
So … I am not one who likes the step-sibling romance angle normally, but I feel like Yangsze Choo is the absolute master of writing slow burn romances with longing and tension and small touches and glances that I can just FEEL.
I was so addicted to the romantic elements in this book, they had me drinking in the text while still trying to savour the book too. I feel like this author writes romances with the exact dynamic and beats that I most adore, slow burn and thoughtful, with interactions that feel real and filled with gravity, like these people exist!
The mystery element of this was fantastic (the tiger lore was creepy and wonderful!) and the historical detail and world building was addictive.
All in all, just such a perfect book for me, so perfect in fact, I feel like it was written exactly to my taste.
Thank you Yangsze Choo, for all your hard work! I love you!!!!
Have you read this book? Would you like to? Tell me your feelings!!
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LEE EVIE is a podcaster, blogger and author of dark historical fiction set in old Korea. Discover Lee Evie’s historical fiction novels by clicking on the images below!