Book Review: My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin & Autographed Copy Giveaway

Book Review: My Fair Concubine
By: Jeannie Lin
Harlequin Historicals June 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
4 Heart Review

My Fair Concubine Blurb:
The Nobleman Who Turned A Tea Girl Into A Princess... 

Yan Ling tries hard to be servile - it's what's expected of a girl of her class. Being intelligent and strong-minded, she finds it a constant battle. 

Proud Fei Long is unimpressed by her spirit - until he realizes she's the answer to his problems. He has to deliver the emperor a "princess." In two months can he train a tea girl to pass as a noblewoman? 

Yet it's hard to teach good etiquette when all Fei Ling wants to do is break it, by taking this tea girl for his own... 

This book is a historical set during the Chinese Tang Dynasty and that alone was enough to tempt me to read it. The fact that it was written by Jeannie Lin made me want to put it at the top of my TBR pile. Oh, and it didn't hurt that the cover is stunning! 

I absolutely ADORE that Harlequin has published historicals not just set in England or about the Ton. I mean there's a world full of history and I'm fascinated by Chinese history. I hope readers will support these books to show Harlequin that we want more unique settings in our historical romances!

I loved that this story takes place over a few months time. In category, very often the romance is fast and furious and with few additional characters. My Fair Concubine not only lets the characters develop, but the were a handful of very well developed and interesting side characters that added a richness to the story and I'm hoping that we will see a few of them in future books. 

In addition to the longer romantic timeline, I felt that Lin did an outstanding job of letting the feelings between the hero and heroine build internally before letting them show their feelings externally. In fact, the hero Fei Long stays so true to his sense of honor that once he finally reveals his feelings to himself and Yan Ling, the reader will be swept along in the emotion. 

As much as I appreciated that level of layered writing, I somehow was left wishing for a little more interaction between Yan Ling and Fei Long. a few more scenes of them spending time together, and not just quietly being in a room together, would have taken the story to the next level for me. That's not to say that I didn't appreciate how the tension built in those quiet moments.

If you are a fan of historical romances I highly recommend not only this book, but also Jeannie's previous Tang Dynasty books. I'd love to see more readers helping to support more diversity in settings and heroes and heroines. 

Enter to win an autographed copy of My Fair Concubine! 

Leave a comment below answering one of these questions: Have you ever read a unique setting in a historical romance? Do you want to see more diversity in characters? Have you read one of Jeannie's other books and what did you think about it? 

1 extra entry if you Tweet the contest & link in comments. 
1 extra entry if you share the contest on Facebook & link in comments. 

I'll randomly pick a winner Friday May 25th. Make sure to include your address so I can contact you. Contest open to US and Canada only. 


  1. I love love love unique settings!

    I've never read a traditional romance "book" set in an unique setting. But I've read plenty of manga. Bride of the Water God is one of my favorites. It's Korean and based loosely off a Korean myth (I believe); but it's incredibly beautiful.

  2. I love Jeannie Lin's books! I don't usually read "unique settings" because that usually means France or Italy, but I *ADORE* this setting because it comes with a whole different culture and expectations! Love it! I'm so glad she has another book out!

    I've read Butterfly Swords and was immediately captivated. I was not surprised it had been a GH finalist.

    I have also read The Dragon and the Pearl--also very well done. Great conflict--I was torn how the book would end, the characters and setting were so well developed--which is great because these books aren't overly long!

  3. Wow! A romance historical set in another country with a plot that doesn't involve a heroine doing research transported to the past...sounds very interesting. I would definitely read it were I to win a copy.

  4. Oh, this book sounds great ! :) I love the whole "make her into a princess from a pauper" story line.

    And I love that Harlequin will publish historicals of every flavor too.

  5. Thanks for the great review and giveaway! I've read Jeannie's other books and loved them. As an Asian woman, I love seeing heroines of color and that aren't set in stereotypes. Reading HR about England/cacausians is great but it's also nice to get HR set in and about other cultures.


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  7. I also think it is great that this novel is not set in England with the ton. My favorite historical romance novels are set in the Caribbean and in Michigan, respectively.

  8. I haven't read any of Ms. Lin's books yet, but that's gotta change! She gets wonderful reviews, so I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!



  9. I definitely am always seeking more diversity in my romances, in setting and characters and plot!

    penrynsdreams at gmail dot com

  10. I think the most unique setting I've come across was in Zoe Archer's Warrior - the book was set in Mongolia. I love seeing diversity in characters, there are so many different types of people in the world, it doesn't just consist of white English or Americans. I haven't yet read any of Jeannie's other books, but I'm looking forward to correcting that.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  11. I've read unique settings in historicals. The most unique setting was Egypt. I'd like to see more diversity in books.


  12. One of my all time favorite historicals is "The Prize" by Julie Garwood. Unsure how unique the setting is but it takes place in England literally right after the Norman Conquest.
    I would love to see greater diversity offered in my reading options as it would better reflect the world in which I live.

  13. I would love to see more diversity in novels. One of the earliest romance novels (? not officially one, I don't think) I read was "Mara, Daughter of the Nile," set in ancient Egypt. Have to say, I would particularly like to read more novels set in China, as it's my pet geographic focus...

    I'm a bit uncomfortable just putting my email address in the comments of a blog. Can this count as an entry anyway if I email Cheeky Reads my addy?