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The Ghost Bride


“It is safe to say that this is Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away for adultsit’s that good.” ( review)


Sample, listen or buy

August 2013, William Morrow/HarperCollins (US) and Hot Key Books (UK)
Carnegie Medal nominee’s Book of the Week
Indie Next List pick
Barnes & Noble Fall ‘13 Discover Great New Writers selection
Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for Best Fantasy
Glamour Magazine 2013 Beach Read
Good Housekeeping Magazine Book Pick
The Bookseller Editor’s Pick
Library Journal Barbara’s Pick

One evening,
my father asked me if I would
like to become a ghost bride…

Li Lan, a young Chinese woman, lives in 1890s colonial Malaya with her quietly ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition — the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he’s dead.

After a fateful visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets, before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

“Choo’s clear and charming style creates an alternate reality where the stakes are just as high as in the real world, combining grounded period storytelling with the supernatural.”
Publishers Weekly

“The Ghost Bride begins as a historical novel but takes an unexpected turn into a fantastical, ghost-and-murder mystery. What makes all this work is the sumptuous world of Chinese émigré culture and the love story that flows under it all—the kind so full of longing, the pages practically sigh as you turn each one.”’s Book of the Week

“…from whodunit to ghost story to coming-of-age to romance, there is enough plot to fill several more novels. But the beguiling tale of Li Lan navigating both the land of the dead and the territory of her own heart makes you hope Choo is the author who writes all of them.” 
USA Today

“‘The Ghost Bride’, an impressive first novel, takes readers on one of the wildest rides since Alice fell down the rabbit hole.” San Jose Mercury News

“This first foray into novel writing was worth the wait—The Ghost Bride is a sublime and mysterious page-turner, full of intrigue and the complications of life on earth and beyond.” Kirkus feature

“Choo’s fascinating debut . . . rich in Chinese folklore, mores and the supernatural…intriguing and enlightening. A haunting debut.” Kirkus Reviews

“Choo’s remarkably strong and arresting first novel…is sure to garner much well-deserved attention.” Booklist

Read the first chapter, or hear the audio version!


Updates on my writing journey:

What to Eat if Your Book is Nominated for an Award?

So What Do Authors Wear, Anyway?

Recording My Audio Book (and hear the first chapter!)

Doing Author-Type Things

A Visit to My Publisher

What is a Bound Proof Anyway?

240 Comments Post a comment
  1. wilczewskia #

    loving this book! its an amazing read. What historical aspects intrigued you the most to write such an ingenious novel?

    April 21, 2015
    • Thank you – I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! All over Malaysia there are remnants of old buildings, and when I was a child, I visited a derelict Chinese mansion in Penang which was the inspiration for the Lim family mansion – rooms upon empty rooms with grass growing up through the stones and the roof fallen in. I’ve never forgotten it! :)

      April 23, 2015
  2. The Ghost Bride was well worth to read. The very good book I’ve read so far. Thank You for writing such a great book and I’m hoping for a sequel too as much as others! And because of your book, I started again my writing hobby and yess, I’ve created a blog~! My first post was none other than a review of The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo :) … so, Thank You.


    April 22, 2015
    • Hi Jehan,

      Thank you so much for your lovely and thoughtful review – I’m delighted that you enjoyed the book and that it inspired you to keep writing (I too will try my best to finish up my second novel)! Good luck with your blog and happy further adventures in reading :)

      April 23, 2015
  3. What a lovely book! Completely wowed the whole way through! And a California writer! (I’m in Silicon Valley) Congratulations and I can’t wait for your next book.

    May 11, 2015
    • Thank you for your kind words – I’m so glad you enjoyed it and will try my best to finish my next book (which is getting quite hefty)! Must. finish. soon… :)

      May 13, 2015
  4. I just devoured The Ghost Bride! It was wonderfully satisfying! I do hope you will make a sequel that tells of her life that she chose.

    May 21, 2015
    • Thank you so much! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it and am definitely open to writing a sequel in future :)

      May 23, 2015
  5. Courtney #

    The Ghost Bride was great, I really liked it! Er Lang and Li Lan, oh gosh I fell in love with their relationship. I loved the concept, it definitely reminded me of the movie “Spirited Away”. (which is one of my favorite movies) I’m glad I found this book, hopefully…you’ll make a sequel? I would love to see more Li Lan and Er Lang ; _ ;

    May 28, 2015
    • Hi Courtney,

      I’m delighted that you enjoyed it – thank you for your kind encouragement! “Spirited Away” is one of my favorite movies too, hooray! :)

      May 29, 2015
  6. Thales #

    Hi! I’m from Brazil, so sorry if i make some english mistakes, i’m not very good at english and google is helping me, so…
    Well your book arrived to Brazil in May of this year (2015) if i not making any mistake, and by the history of the cover already got my attention, i was dying to read the book, but anyway i was not expecting that kind of history … and thanks to you i was very much wrong, the book is simply fantastic, i couldn’t stop reading, you made me stay reading i didn’t have the strength to let it go, the way your writing keeps the reader interested is… i have not words for it! The world you created, the characters, the way they interact i can say i’m in love… and very happy because Li Lan ends up with the guy i was cheering for , Er Lang is one of the best characters ever created, he has something that make us be curious about him!
    I hope more of your books, and sequels of “The Ghost Bride”!!
    And congratulations for this wonderful and terrific book!!

    June 19, 2015
    • Hi Thales,

      Thank you so much – how wonderful to hear from a reader in Brazil! I love the cover of the Brazilian edition which was designed by Dark Side (and was a surprise to me as well!), and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the ending, which I wrote and rewrote a few different ways. I will do my best to keep writing. :)

      June 20, 2015
  7. Dipa #

    I just finished reading ‘The Ghost Bride’ last night and I loved it so much that I’m re-reading portions of it today. Your writing style is so descriptive and evocative that it immersed me in a world that I’ve never read before. In fact, before this book, I knew next to nothing about Malaya in the 19th century. Not only did I come to know about the culture and the people but also the wonderfully imaginative after-life ‘Plains of the Dead’. I loved the spunky Li Lan and the relationship she shared with Er Lang! I know I’m repeating what others have requested, but please do write a sequel with more of the delightful banter between these two great characters! That will be another book which I will treasure!

    July 3, 2015
    • Hi Dipa,

      Thank you for your kind encouragement – I’m delighted that you enjoyed learning about historical Malaya, as well as Li Lan and Er Lang’s relationship! I had a lot of fun writing their scenes together, as originally Er Lang was supposed to have a rather minor role but he kept on invading the book… ;)

      July 4, 2015
      • Dipa #

        Hello Yangsze,

        I’m so excited to hear back from you! It is so nice of you to respond personally to all your readers :)

        Just wanted to mention something I missed out on my last post: I’m from India and after reading your book, I found a lot of similarities between the Hindu concept of after-life and the Chinese concept. We too leave food offerings for ancestors. Bed and clothing are also offered to the dead as part of the rituals following a family member’s death. Strange how cultures coincide somewhere. I think this is a result of a lot of trade that happened between countries in South East Asia post 15th century. I remember you even mentioned some Indian roadside shopowner in your book.

        All the best to you for all your future endeavors!! Please keep writing :)

        July 6, 2015
  8. Natalia #

    Hi, I’m from Brazil and i just finished the Ghost Bride, and it’s a lovely history. And I’m asking if have any chance that have another book telling more about Li Lan and Er Lang after. And I dream about this book become a TV Drama, or something like that. <3

    July 15, 2015
    • Hi Natalia,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m currently working on my second novel, another strange tale of dead people set in colonial Malaya, but I’m certainly open to writing a sequel in future. And yes, how fun it would be if The Ghost Bride became a TV drama or an anime! ;)

      July 18, 2015
      • Any idea when the new novel will be out? I just can’t wait!!!
        (I’ve got my novel out on Amazon BTW, “The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife”)

        You know, The Ghost Bride got under my skin so deeply that I STILL sometimes have dreams about being in that weird ghosty place…
        I agree with Natalia, it would make an abolutely stunning movie. Has your agent got good contacts for film rights?

        July 19, 2015
      • Ooh! I was so excited to hear that your book is out that I rushed off and bought it on my Kindle! Am looking forward to some hilarious reading on the plane when I go traveling next month :) Congratulations on publishing it – I shall be telling my friends all about it!

        July 19, 2015
  9. Thank you! I hope you’ll love it! :-D

    July 20, 2015
  10. Ola, acabei de ler seu livro confesso que estou apaixonada por ele e curiosa pra saber se vai virar série….
    Quero ,muito saber como o Er Lang vai reagir com a noticia….. Por favor não me deixe assim a minha curiosidade e muito grande..
    Obrigado abraços!!

    July 27, 2015
    • Natalia #

      Fernanda, você não é a unica nessa espera. :D Eu gostaria muito de saber como foi para ela largar tudo, e saber das novas aventuras que aguardam ela, seria muito bacana. Torcendo para os livros continuarem, e que tenha alguma adaptação em DORAMA de TV, seria lindo! *.*

      July 27, 2015
    • Hi Fernanda,

      Thank you for reading my book – I’m delighted that you enjoyed it, and will try my best to keep writing! So far, it isn’t a series, but I’m open to writing a sequel. :)

      July 28, 2015
  11. Andrea #

    I started reading your book and I couldn’t put it down until I finished…. It’s amazing I love it. I was just wondering when your next book would come out, and if it was a sequel to the ghost bride.

    July 27, 2015
    • Hi Andrea,

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I am currently working on my next book (literally, as I just set it aside to make a cup of tea!). It’s another strange tale of dead people and superstitions set in colonial Malaya, this time in 1931, and though it isn’t a sequel, I’m definitely open to writing one in the future! :)

      July 28, 2015
  12. Happy #

    I always find it tough to come across a book with the right amount of romance and the right amount of supernatural but this book was exactly what I was looking for! It was so satisfying! I also loved that although the main focus of the book was Chinese culture, you mentioned all the other cultures that were around. And now I’m craving more from you! I hope your next novel is going well and thank you for your hard work!

    July 29, 2015
    • Hi Happy,

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m tickled to hear that you enjoyed it – a lot of the cultural research was very interesting to do, especially the parts related to what they were cooking and eating in those days! :)

      July 31, 2015
  13. Brenda Tata #

    I haven’t read much fiction lately but picked your book up from the sale table at Barnes & Noble on a whim. I hadn’t heard anything about it. Rarely have I enjoyed a book more than this one! I was captivated from the beginning and read it much too quickly. I was reluctant to leave the world of the Ghost Bride! Marvelous in every way. I am recommending it to my four daughters. Thank you so very much. I wish you continued success and will look for more books written by you in the future.

    August 11, 2015
    • Hi Brenda,

      Thank you so much! It’s always fun to pick books up on a whim (I’ve discovered some of my all-time favorite writers, like Jhumpa Lahiri and Rohinton Mistry, this way!) and I’m honored and delighted that you enjoyed it. I will try my best to finish writing my next book :)

      August 14, 2015
  14. Nothing pleases my soul more than stumbling across an author that captures my attention and speaks straight to my spirit. I sat down after finishing a series of novels, not sure what to do next. I was scrolling through the books on my ereader and The Ghost Bride caught my attention. 3 hours later I was half way done and I couldn’t put it down, my lids were heavy, my arm was asleep and it was close to 4am. I was still reading. I’ve a bit more to go to finish it and I’m already dreading it being over. Such an amazing book. Thank you. Thank you for introducing me to historical Malay and China (I’m a European Canadian, I know zero.) Thank you for taking me back in time, thank you for showing me the afterlife. It was all magical.

    October 25, 2015
    • Hi Tyne,

      Thank you for your kind words – as a reader myself, I’m so tickled to hear that you stayed up to read it (though sorry to cause lack of sleep)! I hope you were all right the next day. One day you must come and try all the delicious food in Malaysia! ;)

      October 26, 2015
  15. Hanh Tran #

    Aloha Ms. Choo! My friend and I are obsessed with your book and we’re praying that you’ll consider writing a sequel to this amazing story. We’re both of Chinese decent and reading ‘The Ghost Bride’ brought back so much childhood memories that we’ve long forgotten about. We also love to eat and read as well. Are we soul sisters or what?! Please… tell us what happens to Li Lan and Er Lang? =**(

    November 23, 2015
    • Hi Hanh,

      I’m so tickled to hear that you both enjoyed it – thank you! And eating and reading is definitely a worthy past time. Sometimes I think there ought to be an event like EatMoReadMo, in which people loll around for a month, reading and eating as much as possible! ;) As to what happened to Li Lan and Er Lang, I can only say that they probably went on bickering and having many other adventures. Initially I planned to write a whole extra section for the book which dealt with the court case in the Plains of the Dead, but it would have been too long (see my blog post on what happens when your novel gets out of hand)…but I’m definitely open to writing a sequel in future!

      November 23, 2015

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Ghost Bride | a novel glimpse
  2. Summer Commute Sampler Reads | Jo Wu
  3. Interview with Yangsze Choo, author of The Ghost Bride | Feathers of the Firebird

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