Genre: Historical Fiction

Title: My Splendid Concubine

AUTHOR: Lloyd Lofthouse



Title: My Splendid Concubine

Author: Lloyd Lofthouse

Publisher: iUniverse

 ISBN: 9780595458431

Pages: 365

May 2008


It was a strange and wonderful time. It was a time of new and a time of old. For Robert Hart, it was an escape from his life and familial disgrace into a new beginning of which he could have never conceived. Born and raised in Ireland and practicing a lifestyle of abandon and irresponsibility, Robert Hart accepted a position in China with the British Customs Service in order to escape the shame he brought upon his family. Once in China, he vowed that he would live a chaste and pure life. This he struggled to do until he met Ayaou.

He had seen many foreigners in China take local women as concubines and looked down upon them as whoremongers not worthy of his respect. The passion evoked in him by Ayaou made him question his vow and he determined to learn as much as he could about this expansive land of China which has a culture many, many centuries older than that of Europe. He did so to learn to accept Ayaou’s love and return it honestly and completely. In his quest he met mercenaries and smugglers and teachers and poets. Follow along with him as he experiences and grows into a new life in this little known chapter of a man who was in every respect one of the fathers of Chinese modernization.

Lloyd Lofthouse has crafted a novel that tells an intriguing and amazing tale of a man’s life that is objective and yet compelling. It is evident in the detail and touching honesty from both Hart’s perspective and that of the Chinese who touch his life that Mr. Lofthouse has a great understanding of the unique nature of human cultures and the clashes that arise when East meets West. In addition, the historical depictions and vivid descriptions of the settings make this a book of most impressive stature. The only flaw, and it is minor, is that the reader is left with some questions as to the future. One hopes that this is a hint at a sequel as there is undoubtedly much more to be told of Robert Hart and his journeys of growth and accomplishment.

Reviewer: John Helman, Allbooks Reviews.


Author’s Note: In answer to the ‘minor flaw’ that John Helman pointed out, the sequel, Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine, will continue where My Splendid Concubine left off, as Robert leaves the British and goes to work for the Emperor of China. The rough draft is completed and the manuscript is being revised.