cover image Love in a Chinese Garden

Love in a Chinese Garden

Rachel May. Harlequin Books, $5.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-373-83348-1

May doesn't have quite the publishing history one might expect. Her only previous book is The Translator in the Text: On Reading Russian Literature in English. It was an ambitious idea to take a 9th-century Chinese classic that had already been reworked in the 13th century into The Western Chamber and turn it into a mass market romance. Ambitious, but not successful. While the ancient mores and customs are in place, the vernacular is completely modern. The result is jarring, and readers will find it difficult to connect with the story and its characters. Though there are fascinating glimpses into a wholly foreign time and place, and a delightfully villainous mother, instead of love in a Chinese garden, you'll mostly find boredom. (Oct.)