Book Review – The Consorts (Forbidden City Book 1) by Melissa Addey

First published, 2017

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows life in the Emperor’s court in 18th Century China. The Emperor is surrounded by concubines of various ranks, and the women are afflicted by all kinds of intrigue, self-doubt and jealousy. However, the women with the most power in the empire are Empress – the Emperor’s primary partner and mother of his son, and his own mother – the Empress Dowager, the only person to whom even the Emperor has to bow.

As the other concubines jostle for power, particularly the favoured but gentle Lady Ling and the cruel and ambitious Lady Ula Nara, the barely noticed Lady Qing finds her attention diverted by new concubine, Lady Ying. As their friendship grows stronger, and cruel insinuations are made by Lady Ula Nara, Ladies Qing and Ying are summoned to the Emperor’s chamber.

A gorgeous, slow-burn love story, The Consorts is written in plain but beautiful language, with compelling characters, stunning scenery and deeply rich emotions.

I do love reading about women like me, from times when they weren’t allowed to be women like me. It’s not easy to do well – historical accuracy must be respected – but I loved this one.