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buckIn the Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck, we meet Madame Wu who has just reached her 40th birthday. Madame Wu has decided that she’s tired and wants to “retire” from married life. She doesn’t stop to consider how her decision will influence others. She finds a concubine for her husband and just wants to be left alone and retires to her own court within the family compound. She soon realizes that the family and all who live within the family compound rely on her to run things and to make the decisions. It becomes a different place when she makes these major changes.

I have never read anything by Pearl S. Buck before so I decided to give one of her novels a try. I enjoyed this book. I liked the independence of the main character. She was a very strong woman. I liked that this was also a love story. Madame Wu was not hesitant about trying new things and was open to new ideas. The novel was written in 1946 and the setting was before and during World War II. Times were changing, and the world was changing.

I would recommend this novel if you like stories about strong women and have an interest in Chinese history/culture.