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The Ghost Bride

endorsements

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

GhostBrideFINALREV

Sample, listen or buy

August 2013, William Morrow/HarperCollins (US) and Hot Key Books (UK)
Carnegie Medal nominee
Oprah.com’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.” Oprah.com’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?

174 Comments Post a comment
  1. ivy #

    I just started reading your book, The ghost Bride and I am already half way through. I love it so far! I don’t think anyone has written anything like it and it was a total surprise to me when I actually found out that this whole Ghost Bride thing was real. I hope you continue to write more amazing books and I can tell you I will be reading every one of them.

    March 1, 2014
    • Hi Ivy,

      Thank you so much – I’m so glad you’re enjoying it and I hope you enjoy the ending too! ;)

      March 4, 2014
  2. Martha #

    HELLO!!!!! . Hi i just finished The ghost bride and I just want to say it was fantastic and amazing, I love that element of culture in there and I’m just wondering do you plan on making it a series. I’m a sucker for series, sorry. (Sorry if someone is reading this and it becomes a spoiler to them oops.)because I was expecting it for her to be with Tian Bai. I never expected her to go with Er Lang, so i guess i would have been finishing the book with a big smile and re read it again. except she ended up with Er lang who i didn’t count on it, I was really surprised when he gave her a choice to be with him. because in my head he was like the best friend….. anyway just to some it up the ending of the book had me baffled and wondering what happened between, them….. (hoping another book) If i ever see new books from you i very much will be reading it in the corner of my classroom.

    March 28, 2014
    • Hi Martha,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and yes, the ending could have gone several different ways! ;) I’m currently working on a different book, but am open to writing a sequel – it would be fun to find out what happens next to Li Lan. :)

      April 2, 2014
      • Jude #

        Hello!
        I haven’t been engrossed on a book like this in awhile! I devoured the pages and read it in half a days time.
        It feels like an unfinished story. What happened to Fran? and the investigation in the the afterlife? Li Lan’s mother too. So many unresolved back stories and Er Langs family? What of Tian Bai’s fate and Li Lan’s life with Er Lang? Maybe she’ll become an agent too! I hope you consider a series! :) Thank you for bringing colour and adventure into my life through this book.

        June 9, 2014
      • Hi Jude,

        I’m delighted that you wanted to read more! Initially I’d planned another section for the book, but the length was getting too long for a debut novel. Thanks for the encouragement for a sequel! ;)

        June 12, 2014
      • I just reread The Ghost Bride. Loved it so much I purchased the audio version too and just got done listening! Your narration was brilliant, by the way.

        Anyway, I just wanted to tell you thanks for the awesome story and add in my own wish for a sequel. :D

        June 24, 2014
      • Hi Laura,

        I’m so glad you enjoyed the audio book – thanks so much! It was a lot of fun to record. :) I will try my best to keep writing, hopefully something interesting!

        June 27, 2014
  3. Kristen #

    Dear Ms. Choo,

    Thank you so very much for The Ghost Bride and for your wonderful writing. The characters are simply delightful… and have this middle-aged wife and mother wishing for more of Li Lan’s story (accompanied by Er Lang, of course).

    All the best to you on your current project(s)! :)

    Kristen

    March 28, 2014
    • Dear Kristen,

      Gosh, that’s very kind of you! I’m so happy you enjoyed the book (and Er Lang was one of my favourite characters to write)! Thank you :)

      April 2, 2014
  4. paoaht #

    I loved it! It was captivating. I finished reading it in a day. I love the ending and wish there was a sequel. :) Li Lan and Er Lang made my heart flutter. Beautiful story!!

    April 4, 2014
    • Thank you so much – I’m very happy that you enjoyed it! :)

      April 13, 2014
  5. Zahida #

    Thank you for the wonderful story of Li Lan, I deeply enjoyed the book and was left wanting for more. I cannot imagine what other ideas you may have for books but I would more than love to read them, as I became enamored with the characters, specially Er Lang. I wish and wait anxiously for the sequel. The night of sleep I traded for the emotion and excitement of finishing your book was well worth it. It was so refreshing and captivating to read about the culture you in which the story was set, I cannot recall reading such a good book for the longest time, coupled with the fact the Chinese traditions weaved within the story added enormously to the charm, I cannot express the intrigue and curiosity to know more about this world Li Lan will live between worlds and the adventuress that await her and her new found lover. Thank you again for the wonderful reading :)

    April 10, 2014
    • Hi Zahida,

      I’m so honored that you stayed up to read this book (though I hope you managed to catch up on your sleep later)! Thank you for your kind words – I’m delighted that the book was interesting to you, and will try my best to keep on writing. ;)

      April 13, 2014
  6. Halley #

    I am really hoping you decide to turn this into a series. I loved this book so much and I’m eager to find out what happens to Li Lan and Er Lang!

    April 13, 2014
    • Hi Halley,

      Thank you so much! I’m delighted that you’d like to find out more of their story. It’s very encouraging! ;)

      April 17, 2014
  7. EY #

    Hi Yang Sze, I just finish the Ghost Bride yesterday at 2am. Really couldn’t put the book down though I have to wake up at 6am the next day. Was searching for any sequel to this story and was really hoping to get my hand on the sequel to Li Lan & Er Lang. Hope that you will continue on the sequel to this fantastic book bcoz i really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for writing this story. =)

    May 2, 2014
    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, although I’m sorry you had to wake up early the next day! Thank you so much :)

      May 5, 2014
  8. Ashley #

    This was a amazing book that I just couldn’t put down! You are an amazing author, and I love the characters you created in this book, especially Li Lan and Er Lang. Your book was descriptive and clear, and the plot was never lost on me. I hope, one day, and am able to write as interesting a story. I only wish I got to see what became of Li Lan and Er Lang. Maybe a sequel, perhaps?

    May 10, 2014
    • Hi Ashley,

      Thank you – that’s very kind of you and I’m so happy that you enjoyed the book! I’m definitely open to writing a sequel one day ;)

      May 13, 2014
  9. Alessandra Smith #

    Beautifully rich novel, I loved every minute of it. I’ve been recommending it ever since and we chose it for my book club too. Cannot wait for it to be translated into Italian (soon I hope?) to buy it for my mum and friends there.

    May 30, 2014
    • Hi Alessandra,

      Thank you so much for the recommendation! No Italian translation yet, but maybe some day… in the meantime, I hope your book club enjoys it! I’m always happy to talk to book clubs and if yours has any burning questions about the book, please feel free to tweet me @yangszechoo :)

      June 4, 2014
      • alessandra #

        My book club ladies loved it too! :)

        July 8, 2014
  10. Lyn #

    Dear Yangsze,

    As a fellow Malaysian (from Malacca), i particularly loved your book as I could relate to all the places you mentioned in the book. I would love to know what happens to Li Lan when Er Lang comes for her. Please do consider writing a sequel. Thank you!

    June 6, 2014
    • Hi Lyn,

      Thank you so much – I’m so happy to hear from a fellow Malaysian, particularly someone from Melaka! As it happens, I will be doing a free book event on June 28th 2014, at Kinokuniya KLCC in Kuala Lumpur from noon to 1pm. I’ll be talking about the book, how I started writing it etc. answering audience questions and signing copies. Please come join me (and you’re welcome to invite friends!) if you happen to be free. More details on the Events page of this blog. :)

      June 8, 2014
      • Chisi Amanda Xiong #

        I hope you will come to Seattle, wa one day! There is also a Kinokuniya book store here! Would LOVE to hear you speak about your book!

        October 17, 2014
  11. Jamp #

    This books has become one of my favorite reads. Please turn this into a series or at least one sequel. It’s just too amazing a read to just end here.

    June 24, 2014
    • Hi Jamp,

      Thank you for the encouragement! I’m delighted you enjoyed it and will do my best to keep writing something (hopefully) interesting :)

      June 27, 2014
  12. Vanessa #

    Hey, I’m from Australia and truly loved the book! It has inspired me to read many other books, just so I could find ones like it- so far no luck. Please make a movie or sequel, this book has great potential and many fans, we’ll support you all the way!!! :)

    June 25, 2014
    • Hi Vanessa,

      Gosh, that’s very kind of you! I’m working on a graphic novel adaptation with Singaporean comic book artist Sonny Liew, and will update this blog when he has some illustrations to share :) In the meantime, will try my best to keep writing!

      June 27, 2014
  13. Gill #

    I picked up your copy of ghost bride today and I just could not put down the book until I read it from cover to cover!!

    Love the way you intertwine the different threads together (must secretly admit that I love Chinese superstitions and stories about the afterlife)!

    Li Lan and Er Lang are such a spunky couple (and bit unexpected but that’s a good twist) and I really can’t wait to read more about their adventures!

    Please keep them coming and I will most definitely be on the lookout for your next book(s)!!

    June 30, 2014
    • Hi Gill,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, as well as Li Lan/Er Lang (which was a fun surprise for me as well when I was writing)! I want to know what happens to them next too. ;)

      July 2, 2014
  14. I just finished reading your book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Including the notes at the end! I will definitely keep an eye out for your next books!

    July 8, 2014
    • Hi Shannon,

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, including the notes at the end – thank you so much! I had fun a lot of fun writing up the notes, although I wondered whether anyone would read them! ;)

      July 9, 2014
  15. Dearest Ms Choo,

    I am a high school student from Australia who has a large appetite for fantasy novels. Being in my last, crucial year of high school, I have resigned from reading to allow for more study time.

    My younger sister is not an avid reader, in fact, she loathes reading unless the genre is non-fiction. Nonetheless, she mysteriously started reading a hefty, thick book, which happened to be ‘The Ghost Bride’. Shocked, I asked her last night which chapter she had read up to and her reply was “I finished it”.

    She has never finished a book prior to reading your novel. I was so surprised so I read the blurb and it instantly piqued my interest. I am a fan of mythology and folklore, combined with the fact that I am also a ‘flowering’ young maiden myself, this exotic pot of Chinese folklore, Romance, History and Family is exactly my cup of tea.

    I started the novel at 11:45pm and despite knowing I have school the next day, stayed up till 3am just to feed my undying lust for a perfect ending. Yes, indeed. I got my perfect ending.

    Not only am I smitten by the mysterious Er Long, but have fallen for the thick aura of Chinese folklore that encapsulates your novel. I must give you my deepest thanks for writing this novel, for had I not read it, I would not understand the very customs that my family has adopted. I never knew where the ‘Hell’s money’ I burnt went to, how the spirits of my ancestors are living their life in the netherworld and the intricacies of polygamy.

    Thank you for teaching my sister and I to understand our culture and customs whilst teaching her the plethora of possibilities that can entail when the imagination is allowed to foster.

    Thank you and I hope to read more of your future work.

    Kind Regards,
    Patricia Lee, 17 Australia

    July 22, 2014
    • Hi Patricia,

      I am so tickled to hear about you and your sister reading the book! It’s very kind of you and I’m delighted that it was an enjoyable read for both of you, especially since she finished the book! I remember staying up all night to read books when I was younger (and in fact, still occasionally do). I wish you all the best as a fellow bibliophile, and will try my best to keep writing! :)

      July 24, 2014
  16. Edith brady #

    The character Er Lang reminds me of a couple of the characters in Miyazaki’s animated movies, especially Spirited Away. I really enjoyed it.

    August 30, 2014
    • Hi Edith,

      Thank you so much! I’m a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki and his beautiful movies – I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! :)

      September 2, 2014
  17. Steph #

    Hello!
    I fell in love with this book the first time I read it, yeah, the first time. I have read it close to a dozen times since. This book has quickly become a favourite, if I’ve had a bad day I tend to pick it up because it pulls me in so completely. In short, I loved it this book really brought Chinese mythology to life and I really can’t wait for more. Your writting is incredibly engaging!

    September 18, 2014
    • Hi Steph,

      Thank you so much – how wonderful to hear that you’ve enjoyed rereading it! I do the same for many books which I love, and am so honored that THE GHOST BRIDE become one of your favourites! :)

      September 22, 2014
      • Michelle Leong #

        Hi,
        I read your book when it first came out and loved it. I’m from Malaysia and a Master student , who is also doing a research on your book as a Female Gothic book. Do you consider your book Gothic? And I hope there is a sequel to The Ghost Bride.

        September 23, 2014
      • Hi Michelle,

        How nice to hear from a fellow Malaysian – I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! And yes, you could probably make the case that it is a Gothic novel, or at least partly so. There was a time when I read a lot of Victorian Gothic novels (e.g. Le Fanu’s Carmilla) and there are similar hints in terms of the historical setting and the supernatural events that transpire, although culturally it is quite different since it has an Asian setting. When I was writing it, however, I was actually thinking more of traditional Chinese literary stories, like Liao Zhai Zhi Yi, which are strange tales of ghosts and the afterlife and the Japanese stories like Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan. Hope that helps and good luck on your Master’s! :)

        September 26, 2014
  18. Fiona #

    Totally in Love with the book!! Can’t Help that Every page makes me wanting to read more. I Hope you will come back with a sequel, excited about er Lang’s reaction and their endeavour! Great job!!

    September 30, 2014
    • Hi Fiona,

      Thank you for your kind words – I’m delighted that you enjoyed it! Right now I’m currently working (frantically!) on a different novel, but am definitely open to writing a sequel in future ;)

      October 2, 2014
  19. Ain #

    Hi!! I had presented about ghost festival in chinese culture to my lecturer years ago. This year I went to MPH, your book caught me! I finished read your writing yesterday and.. the mot juste of your writting is tremendously fantastic and fascinated! I Your storyline was very good! I was besotted with industrious Tian Bai at first. I even looking him on internet! Hoping there is modern and real Tian Bai. Haha. At last Er Lang captivated me. Pleasee do a sequel! I wish Er lang came back that night. However Im wait for your other writting!

    Loves from Malaysia.

    October 7, 2014
    • Hi Ain,

      How wonderful to hear that you did a presentation on the ghost festival years ago! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book as well, and very happy that you found it at MPH. Thanks so much for the encouragement – I will try my best to keep writing! :)

      October 8, 2014
  20. Dear Ms. Choo, I enjoyed Ghost Bride very much. It’s always a pleasure to read a book based on our Kampung. Perhaps one day we’ll bump into each other on the street in SF and share a meal in a Malaysian restaurant? I will definitely recommend this book to my fellow Malaysian in SF. Congratulations and keep writing!

    October 11, 2014
    • Thank you so much! It’s always wonderful to hear from fellow Malaysians, particularly abroad where there is a shortage of good nasi lemak and roti canai (as it happens, I just made nasi lemak last night together with a Singaporean friend – we even made things like ondeh-ondeh and pandan chiffon cake as we really wanted to eat those tastes of home)! ;)

      October 13, 2014
  21. Chisi Amanda Xiong #

    Hello Mrs. Choo! Like everyone else who posted a comment, I was absolutely in love with this book! I finished it about a month ago, but before that, I found your book on a shelf at the Half Price Book Store, and I knew I had to read it! Your book was captivating and very different from books I’ve read before, which made it very enjoyable. The whole book had a sense of eeriness but the love and determination Li Lan had made it less scary? *SPOILER* Although I was surprised she chose Er Lang, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed. I knew I liked Er Lang’s character as soon as he was the “mysterious” man at the temple. I would really love to know more about Er Lang, I think he is the most interesting character for me. It would be amazing if you did a side novel about Er Lang! Or what happens to Er Lang and Li lan :D Anyway, after I found your book I’ve been promoting it to my sisters and some cousins. Both my sisters read it and loved it as well. On another note, after me and my sisters finished the book, we discussed how we felt about the ending and it’s funny how different each of us thought and wanted. My sister wanted Li lan to be with Tian Bai because she felt the goal Li Lan had was to make it back into her body and be with the one she dreamed of. As for me, I wanted her to end up with Er Lang, but I thought she was going to choose to live out her life with Tian Bai, until the “end” of her days and Er Lang will come back for her and finally take her with him. That was my thought. But anyway, thank you for writing such a great book.

    -Chisi Amanda Xiong

    October 17, 2014
    • Hi Chisi,

      I’m so delighted that you and your sisters enjoyed the book, and had a fun discussion! Yes, the ending could have gone a number of ways – in fact I wrote several different options in which a number of things happened/didn’t happen. I’m also tickled that you enjoyed Er Lang’s character as he was a surprise to me as well, initially only existing as a minor character who just kept on appearing and taking up more and more book time! Thanks so much :)

      October 19, 2014
  22. puspa paradisa #

    Hello Ms.Choo. I just finished your book yesterday and I was like “Wow! Fantastic!” I love it so much. I love the story and I really enjoy your writing style which makes me imagining the story like it really happen. I love reading novel but usually it’s hard for me to choose and buy novel which suits me. But when I found your novel and read the synopsis, I feel like “This is it.” Thank you for such an interesting and beautiful story. Is it possible for a sequel? I want more Li Lan and Er Lang. ;)

    October 19, 2014
    • Hi Puspa,

      Thank you for your kind words – I’m so happy that it was a fun read for you! I’m currently working on another book, this time set around Ipoh in the 1920s, but am definitely open to a sequel in future! :)

      October 23, 2014
  23. James #

    I also hope you can come to Seattle’s Kinokuniya book store (in Chinatown); I would love to meet you and hear you talk about your book!!

    October 20, 2014
    • Hi James,

      Kinokuniya is one of my favourite bookstores in the world! I’ve visited the Seattle one (though as a reader and avid book-buyer) though sadly, have no plans to come to Seattle in the near future. If I do, I will certainly post it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yschooauthor! Thanks again for your encouragement :)

      October 23, 2014
  24. alessandra #

    So happy you are receiving so many positive comments. Your book is truly remarkable x

    October 23, 2014
    • Hi Alessandra,

      Thank you so much – that’s very kind of you! :)

      October 27, 2014
  25. Aimee #

    Mrs. Yangszhe Choo,

    I just finished your book, The Ghost Bride about 5 minutes ago. I really enjoyed the story a lot. Towards the third part of the book, I could not put the book down and found myself staying up late at night to continue reading. I love the storyline of Li Lan and Er Lang the ending made me wanting to read more. Please consider writing a sequel to Li Lan and Er Lang’s story. Their pairing is comedic, cute and very interesting to me. Thank you.

    October 27, 2014
    • Hi Aimee,

      I’m so tickled that you enjoyed the book enough to stay up late at night – though I hope you got enough sleep! Thank you – I too have a habit of staying up to read books that I like and I’m so honored to hear that THE GHOST BRIDE was one for you! :)

      October 28, 2014

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