A sweeping historical epic of a young Chinese woman in imperial Europe – perfect for fans of Memoirs of a Geisha. The year is 1881, the era of China's humiliation at the hands of imperialist Europe. Seven-year-old Sai Jinhua is left alone and unprotected, her life transformed after her mandarin father's summary execution for the crime of speaking the truth.
Now an orphan, Jinhua is sold to a brothel and put to work as a 'money tree', enduring the very worst of human nature thanks to the friendship and wisdom of the crippled brothel maid.
But when an elegant but troubled scholar takes Jinhua as his concubine, her world begins to expand. With him she will travel to Vienna, seeing things she has never imagined, and opening her heart to dreams she has never dared to dream . . .
Based on the true story of Sai Jinhua, Alexandra Curry's debut novel, The Courtesan, travels from the depths of the Chinese empire to the palaces of Vienna, and tells the true story of one young woman's journey from the depths of poverty to the centre of Chinese history.