Friday, April 1, 2016

Review: The Forbidden Orchid

The Forbidden Orchid 
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Release date: March 8, 2016
Published by: Viking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elodie Buchanan is the oldest in a family of 10 girls living in a time when there really were no rights at all for women. Elodie and her sisters have been encouraged to read as much as possible, but even that is highly looked down upon by most of society. Ladies should be most concerned with a household, their purity and finding a husband so they can begin raising children as soon as possible. When Elodie's plant hunting adventurer of a father becomes even more estranged from their family after some drama in China, she begins to not only take on even more responsibility in the house because her mother cannot but to also question many things in society. Once she decides to step out her door and take matters into her own hands to save her family, her world will forever be changed. The question is: will it be for good? or bad?

My thoughts: This was a slow starter for me. Once I convinced myself to stick with it and finish it, I was able to get to more interesting parts that appealed to me more. It's not that it wasn't good, or I wouldn't have given it a 4! It was very good. I had a very hard time connecting with the main character of Elodie. She was so weak, quiet and frustrating to me...of course that all changed as she grew and grew in personality and daring...

Elodie was so darn good based on what a young lady of that time was supposed to be, and apparently I must be almost at the other end of the spectrum because I really struggled to like her for oh so many pages. Here's the thing though, she finds so much bravery within herself because of the tragic issues around her that she has to deal with (or choses to deal with) that she grows into someone I would want as a friend. It's an incredible amount of growth that might seem unbelievable to you reading this, but the way that Waller spins her tale makes it believable. 

The parents in this are both so broken! That was something that I really struggled with as well, but I'm sure that we are supposed to as readers. There have been repeated dramas and atrocities enacted upon them throughout the story. The best part is that in the end we are left with so much hope and happiness which is something I was very worried about while reading. Taking these characters through all of these, and still being able to create this happiness and hope was something that fascinated me. 

The guy she meets is adorable and so good even though he's had a craptastic life mostly. That's was so interesting was how Elodie was surrounded by so many who had such tough lives and was still able to find that they were good people. The lesson in this that I'm taking away, and would strongly agree with, is that those who have had to endure so much in life are made stronger and better people then those who float through a perfect life. 

The bad guys were so darn creepy and/or bad in this too! They were obviously well written. That goes for the more minor characters of the sisters and others. You just need to give this one a try! You might be very surprise. 

Favorite part: That there were so many "based on actual events" parts to this book! I knew many of them, but others I didn't and being able to read the non-fiction details at the end was fantastic!! It also made me interested in reading a couple non-fiction books we have in our library now about plant hunters and plants...

What did you think of this one? 

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