Lan is raised by his mother as a girl. She hopes that with this deception, Lan's power hungry older half-brother won't feel threatened and kill him before he is old enough to be sent away.
Her brother eventually discovers the truth, however, and gives Princess Lan as a gift to a powerful general, Hui, in a move of masterful political manipulation. When Hui discovers his beautiful 7th concubine is a man, he wants to give into his lust for Lan, but the situation is complicated. When his beautiful young concubine doesn't become pregnant, what will people say? Although Lan prefers to dress as a woman, what if those around him discover the truth? What rumors will Lan's brother circulate about Hui taking a cross-dressing concubine? So, despite the powerful feelings between the two, Lan's lantern is rarely lit.
The seeming lack of attention from Hui makes Lan and outcast among the other sister wives. She (he) is clearly beautiful so why does Hui never visit her house?
The politics of it all were fascinating. The tension and emotions were palpable.
The first 70% was so good. The last 30%, not as great. But still I loved it.
Bonus points for the fact that this was like nothing else I have read before. BR with Adam. Thanks for reading this with me!