How The Lotus Blossoms by Fionna Guillaume
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have had a strange fascination with the Chinese foot-binding tradition, ever since I read the book Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. The practice was absolutely barbaric, and it's difficult to imagine how a tradition so horrible came to be. Fionna Guillaume blends true history with conjecture, creating a fascinating and believable story of a young Chinese woman, born with club feet, to peasants forced to sell her to a circus freak show.
She binds her feet with silk to provide support and hide her deformity, and the pain of walking on her tiny half moons causes her to walk with a seductive sway, which catches the eye of the emperor. When he takes her to his bed for the first time, she displays the acrobatics force on her by her cruel husband and uses her tiny silk-wrapped lotus flowers to bring him to orgasm. He is so smitten by her disability, he takes her as his concubine, develops a deep fetish for her three inch feet, and declares that any woman who comes to his bed must have bound feet, a completely likely explanation for the longstanding tradition.
Guillaume's writing is very slick and efficient, and the story moves at a smooth pace toward a pleasant, happy ending. The sex is titillating and quite unique. An enjoyable story all-around, especially for those with an interest in Chinese women's history.
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