Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords

is a romance set in Tang Dynasty (eighth century) China.  I first became familiar with the title when the manuscript reached the finals of numerous RWA-sponsored contests; Butterfly Swords won the Golden Heart for Historical Romance in 2009.  I never judged it myself, but I heard that it was very good indeed.  I was impressed that Jeannie had done so well with a manuscript set in a time period that conventional wisdom said would never sell, and that she had followed her instincts and her heart, writing the stories that she wanted to write.

Conventional wisdom was wrong, and Butterfly Swords sold to Harlequin Historical and was published in 2010.  When I went to the RWA National Conference in New York in June 2011, I hadn’t read the book, or even seen a copy, but in the Goody Room I picked up a simple promotional pamphlet for Jeannie’s second novel, The Dragon and the Pearl.  Those few pages were enough to tell me I had missed an author I really wanted to read.  By then I had a Kindle, so when I got home I downloaded Butterfly Swords and the accompanying novella, The Taming of Mei Lin.  

I’ve recently finished reading Butterfly Swords, and it is every bit as good as I expected.  The story of Ai Li, sword-wielding runaway bride, and Ryam, the wandering barbarian soldier who comes to her aid, is both passionate and exciting, and full of fascinating descriptions of life under the Tang Dynasty.  Ai Li and Ryam’s travels take them to the highest levels of society and the farthest reaches of the Empire and, of course, to a happy ending.  If you have a Kindle, read the story of Mei Lin, Ai Li’s grandmother, first.

I have The Dragon and the Pearl waiting on my Kindle (along with its accompanying novella, The Lady’s Scandalous Night), and I’m looking forward to see how Jeannie turns Li Tao, the villain of Butterfly Swords, into the hero of this book.  And I’m delighted that she has several more Tang Dynasty novels on the way.  I’m definitely a fan.

Visit Jeannie’s author page at Amazon for her books, and her web site/blog at JeannieLin.com.

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