Friday, 9 October 2020

The Perilous Life Of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho + #FreeBook + #Excerpt

The Perilous Life Of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
Self published on the 30th May 2012.

One of my More Than One Challenge reads

How I got this book:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon UK (free) / (free)

For writer Jade Yeo, the Roaring Twenties are coming in with more of a purr. She's perfectly happy making a living by churning out articles on what the well-dressed woman is wearing. But when she pillories one of London's leading literary luminaries in a scathing review, she may have made the mistake of her career.

Sebastian Hardie is tall, dark and handsome--and more intrigued than annoyed. Jade is irresistibly drawn to the prospect of adventure he offers. But if she succumbs to temptation, she risks losing her hard-won freedom--and her best chance for love.


Hardie looked at me. I thought he was going to say something serious and philosophical about loneliness, but instead he lifted his hand and traced the air just above my cheekbones, almost touching me but not quite.
“It’s a shame I’m no sort of artist,” he said, so low I had to strain to hear him over the noise. “How I should like to paint those lines.”
Now what is one supposed to say to that?
“I’m sure you’d be nice to paint too,” I said, unable to think of anything better.
Hardie laughed.
“Poor Ariel,” he said. “Alone on an incomprehensible island. Has any other mariner heard your whispers, or did they think it just the wind?”
“I’m really more of a Caliban,” I said primly.
Hardie tilted his head.
“Even better,” he said.

I spotted The Perilous Life Of Jade Yeo as a free Amazon ebook download last month and, having previously enjoyed Zen Cho's fantasy novel, The True Queen, I eagerly snapped up this novella too. The two books are very different in subject and genre - Regency witchcraft fantasy to 1920s urban romance - and I just as happily immersed myself in Jade Yeo's perilous life as I had in The True Queen.

Jade has escaped parental pressure to marry back home in Malaya by being terribly daring and travelling to London, alone, to write. The trouble is that her life now consists of even less by way of excitement as she fills her days with cooking, reading or writing. So when Bohemian cad Sebastian Hardie turns out to be more amused than offended by Jade's slating of his new book, she finds herself very tempted to embark on a little dalliance - purely out of curiosity of course!

I loved Jade because we share a similarly dry sense of humour and I appreciated her frequently being underwhelmed by traditionally romantic situations. The novella is written as a series of private diary entries so Jade is hilariously honest about her first kiss and first sexual encounter. The repartee between her and Sebastian is fun as is the verbal sparring between Jade and her overbearing Aunt Iris. I liked spotting nods to various classic novels with Jade's frequent references to the Bronte sisters reminding me that I really must pick up their novels one day! Cho's sharply observed comments about English attitudes to 'the colonies' are still, unfortunately, still valid over a century after the story is set and I was interested in the different ideas around plain speaking and appropriate conversational topics that Jade notes between her Malayan upbringing and her London life.

The Perilous Life Of Jade Yeo is an entertaining novella that was perfect escapism from a grey, rainy day. Cho's brisk prose keeps the story moving along, but with enough geographical and historical detail to create a good atmosphere and depth to the tale. 

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Zen Cho / Historical fiction / Books from Malaysia

1 comment:

  1. I totally loved this one! It's nice to have historical fiction with PoC leads - especially in Europe, and especially where racism and prejudice aren't the sole theme. Plus, it's just super well-written! <3