Melissa Addey’s The Consorts

Title: The Consorts (Forbidden City Book 1)
Author: Melissa Addey
Publisher: Letterpress Publishing
Published Date: 26th November 2017
Page Count: 132
Price: FREE (perma-free eBook)
Reviewer: Gwendoline SK Terry (23rd April 2022)

Lonely. Used as a pawn. One last bid for love.
18th century China. Imperial concubine Qing yearns for love and friendship. Neglected by the Emperor, passed over for more ambitious women, Qing lives a lonely existence. But when a new concubine comes to court, friendship blooms, bringing with it a taste of happiness.

For the first time in her life, Qing has a friend and perhaps even a chance at loving and being loved. But when the Empress’ throne suddenly becomes available, Qing finds herself being used as a pawn by the highest ranked women of the court. Caught up in their power games, on one devastating night everything she holds dear is put at risk.

As the power players of the Forbidden City make their moves, can Qing find the courage to make one last bid for love? Can an insignificant pawn snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?

The Consorts is the captivating prequel novella to the Forbidden City historical fiction series. If you enjoy slow-burn romance, courtly intrigues and the intricately researched legends of real women, then you’ll be swept away by Melissa Addey’s enchanting novella.

What. A. Story. I will preface my review by saying that, usually, I don’t read present tense stories – it’s past tense or death for me, haha. However, I was so intrigued by this story that I had to put aside my bias and read it.

This is a slow-burn, behind-the-curtain, forbidden romance between two of the Emperor’s consorts. Luxurious description filled with stunning, poignant scenes. Watching Qing and Ying as they grow closer and fall in love despite the taboo surrounding same-sex relationships – between two concubines of the Emporer no less! – was incredible.

My heart was racing whenever Ula Nara was nearby, and I was devastated when situations threatened Qing and Ying’s relationship. The ending was so beautiful. The historical notes at the end of the book were very informative and interesting, too!

A magnificent story, I’m looking forward to reading the three other books in the series.