Reviewed by Vig Boland – 5 stars

 

“The Opium Lord’s Daughter is the beautiful, but feisty Lady Lee Su-Mei, and as the title states, her father is one of the wealthiest opium traders in mid 19th century China. It is Su-Mei’s fictional journey to adulthood that Robert Wang explores against the factual background of the Opium Wars between China and Britain, and I must say, Wang has done a terrific job of blending truth and fiction. History buffs will most likely be drawn to the details surrounding the why’s and how’s of those Opium Wars, but this novel has so much more to offer than facts. The story of Su-Mei is enchanting, heartbreaking and at times simply horrid…

Readers who decide to indulge in Su-Mei’s story will find themselves on an emotional and intellectual roller-coaster. Characters are beautifully developed and very realistic. Dialogue is plentiful, often amusing as Su-Mei tries to speak English. The depiction of what goes on in the opium dens coupled with some peeks into Chinese sexuality and terminology, e.g. Jade Stalks and Golden Gates, is eye-opening. At the same time, one gets a very clear idea of how important tradition and respect is to the Chinese culture…so different then, and even today, from that of Western society. I truly enjoyed reading The Opium Lord’s Daughter. I not only learned a great deal about those Opium Wars but having had the pleasure of visiting Hong Kong back in 2006, it was fascinating to learn its background before it became the magnificent city it is today. Treat yourself to this outstanding novel: writing it must have been a challenge for Robert Wang, but the result is most pleasing. Bravo!”