2008-07-06 23:03:25 - Author Lloyd Lofthouse's breakout fictional biography of Sir Robert Hart paints a vivid portrait of violence and prurience in 19th Century China.
Just as he writes 'Chinese prefer explanations that come around to the meaning in a circle instead of a straight line,' author Lloyd Lofthouse's new historical fiction novel MY SPLENDID CONCUBINE is finally coming around to success after being released more than a half-year ago.
Meticulously researched over the course of a decade, Lofthouse obviously did not mind waiting an additional 6 months following his publishing date before his debut book began to generate a positive online and talk-radio buzz - followed by steady sales - on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. By all indications, My Splendid Concubine is poised to be the breakout sleeper-hit of the summer.
Like most historical fiction novels which center on actual personalities and events, My Splendid Concubine traces the true-life exploits of Sir Robert Hart (1835-1911), the expatriate official credited for bringing China into the 20th century. The architect behind China's railway network, postal service and education system, Hart was conferred numerous Chinese awards and titles. As Lofthouse's wife, best-selling authoress Anchee Min writes in her foreword to Concubine, 'Few know that Sir Robert Hart was once a household name in China-a giant moral hero.'
Lofthouse, however, depicts another half of Sir Robert Hart, the dark half, and instead beguilingly explores Robert Hart's riotous first years in the Orient, namely all the sex and violence that an expat living in mid-1800's China would most likely encounter. Conscious that historical fiction readers demand potboilers over academic fare, Lofthouse plays on Hart's notoriety, and obviously has fun while doing it.
My Splendid Concubine, by Lloyd Lofthouse
365 pages, published by iUniverse, December 2007