TBR Challenge Review: Greetings Ninth Uncle (九叔万福) by September Flowing Fire (Jiu Yue Liu Huo, 九月流火)

Greetings Ninth Uncle (九叔万福) by September Flowing Fire (Jiu Yue Liu Huo, 九月流火)
Historical romance published in 2019

Book cover of Greetings, Ninth Uncle by September Flowing Fire Plain read book cover with a yellow gold rectangle running through about the middle third with the title written in Chinese vertically. Next to it is a small block with the authors name in the style of a Chinese shop sealCheng Yujin was the elder twin sister, who was supposed to be engaged to an excellent man. However she later learned that her fiancé, Marquis Jingyong, had proposed to her because he mistakenly recognized her as her younger twin sister. Marquis Jingyong and her younger sister had a deep relationship, and after many twists and turns, finally broke through all hardships and became eternal lovers. While Cheng Yujin was the villain who replaced her sister’s good marriage, kept framing her sister, and hindered the main couple to be together. A really wicked older sister and poisonous late wife.
After the younger twin sister was reborn, she revealed Cheng Yujin’s ‘conspiracy’ early on. Everyone scorned her, and her so-called fiancé was indifferent. Cheng Yujin sneered and tore off their engagement letter in front of her fiancé.
Everyone was gloating and happily waiting to see her regret her actions. However, before Marquis Jingyong had a chance to see Cheng Yujin’s regret, he saw his former fiancee marrying her uncle.
The ninth uncle of Cheng family was truly a hidden dragon, his real power frightening everyone.
Cheng Yujin, this coquettish little wife, lightly lifted her eyebrows and casually said, “A mere Marquis Jingyong, is he worthy? Do you think that robbing him away will affect me?”
Almost forgot to say, ninth uncle wasn’t surnamed Cheng. His real name was Li Chengjing, the crown prince.

If you’re randomly happening upon ALBTALBS, let me tell you, I’ve left the continent entertainment wise this year. If you’re a ~regular, or follow me on social media, you know I went hard on watching c-dramas for much of this year, then turned to reading translated novels. I’ve been having a grand old time, even with some really terribly translated books. Luckily this isn’t one of them – and in fact is one of my favorite reads of the year. I know the title is a bit lacking, especially in English, but 🤷🏻‍♀️. The point is the story is a delight – and in fact when I was reading it I kept thinking “the author has got to be a psychologist or something” – the analysis and interpersonal relationships are that good.

I’m a week late on the TBR challenge, but that’s pretty on brand for me. The “prompt” for this month was “Festive” and … does it count that the hero’s birthday is on a festival? This book spans a number of years so there are also multiple festivals mentioned … so I’m going with it. Also because this book is worth gushing about.

Cheng Yu Jin (CYJ) is possibly the most frighteningly accomplished heroine I’ve ever read. She’s very practical and good at pretty much anything. She’s great on her own, but what adds a tragic flavor is that she’s so perfect because she’s had to be. Her family and her family situation is pretty awful. A big focus of the first part of the novel is simply CYJ husband hunting so she can get the fuck out. And I don’t blame her. She’s too perfect, so her peers don’t like her. However, she doesn’t care – she knows to achieve her goal the people she needs to appeal to are potential future mother in laws. She’s so smart. I want to be her best friend.

If I had to pick any “flaw” it’d be that she’s a bit emotionally clueless. For good reason as she’s never received any warmth or actual care her entire life, until she meets the hero.

Our hero, Li Cheng Jing (LCJ) is NOT CYJ’s uncle. Let me repeat, they are in no way related. It’s a big plot point as to why/how he starts out the novel with the identity as CYJ’s “uncle” … but he knows from the start they’re not related, and she finds out very early on in the book too. It actually becomes a very low key running gag. Anyway, he’s the crown prince who has had to live in hiding for over a decade, and is finally about to reclaim his place in the imperial court. He’s incredibly smart, cunning, capable, and ridiculously in love with CYJ. I deeply enjoyed reading the scenes where this man’s “love brain” takes over.

CYJ and LCJ perfectly complement each other. They work so well in concert. CYJ’s maids often think that she could live well anywhere, she’s so capable – it wouldn’t have mattered who she married. But she wouldn’t necessarily have been happy. And with LCJ, CYJ has a happy, complete life, full of love. (Well, once all the drama and intrigue is finally over… and there is a lot of that too.)

Both our main characters are rather constrained. For CYJ, she’s been conditioned to be a bit uptight. She’s always had to be perfect, and still was constantly criticized and scrutinized anyway, so her life would’ve been even worse if she wasn’t so incredibly on top of everything. For LCJ, first of all, he’s known his whole life he’s the crown prince, and secondly, he literally has no support other than his own smarts and skills, so he can’t act rampantly. For the first 10+ years of his life he literally had to hide (sometimes in plain sight) so the empress dowager wouldn’t murder him. Which she’d already been trying to do from before he was born till he was five and essentially disappeared.

While this book isn’t exactly a “rebirth” there’s a past life that is revealed to CYJ in a dream. Close enough that I’d consider it a “rebirth/revenge” story in a way – although this book isn’t so much about CYJ seeking revenge (she gets that already when she slaps her ex when he comes to break off their engagement) – as her going on to live her best life. And boy does she. An absolute upgrade from a middling marquis to the crown prince. Of course she becomes the empress.

This book will play on your heart strings. A lot of the focus is on the Cheng family, because it’s where both our leads live at the start of the novel. Aside from CYJ, the Chengs are relentlessly awful. That being said, there’s also a lot of humor in it too. CYJ is almost alarmingly pragmatic in her husband hunting, and once she learns LCJ is the crown prince she basically treats him like a giant husband hunting store – after all he’s got all these young talents surrounding him and supporting him. She never considers him because she thinks it’d be much too far to reach. This of course drives LCJ crazy and it’s hilarious seeing them circle around each other. Or more, CYJ trying to set up the rest of her life, and LCJ about to tear his hair out. And dealing with the trash ass m(e)n trying to coerce CYJ into marriage.

My only real complaint would be I felt the ending was a bit too rushed – just when you think you finally get a breather, there’s another plot shoved in there that was a bit cliche – at least when it comes to the genre. Luckily it was nicely resolved, and the extra stories made up for everything. The “extras” are really just epilogues that are not to be missed. I’m not really talking about the plot because I don’t want to give spoilers as I really hope you’ll read it. It’s also not as long as Malicious Empress so hopefully less intimidating there.

If you want to read a delightful romance that will run you through the gamut of emotional responses, and that has an incredibly supportive couple couple, I highly recommend this book. It even has LCJ talking dirty to CYJ using holy zen scriptures. I mean how can you miss out on that?
Anyway seriously speaking – I hope you read one of these novels. I have many more to recommend and am always happy to answer any questions you might have to the best of my abilities.

Grade: A

You can read the novel here.

2 thoughts on “TBR Challenge Review: Greetings Ninth Uncle (九叔万福) by September Flowing Fire (Jiu Yue Liu Huo, 九月流火)

    1. Limecello Post author

      LOL there’s SO MUCH going on in these c-novels, I’m very much enjoying how much more they develop romances etc than Western romances/especially romances being published more recently that are so much shorter.


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