TBR Challenge Review: 三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (Ming Yue Ting Feng)

三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (Ming Yue Ting Feng)
<dHistorical romance published by Jiangsu Phoenix Art Publishing House in 2012

Novel/original cover of 三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (MingYueTingFeng)One is a blind girl, the embodiment of an orchid, intelligent with sophisticated grace, and the other, a young noble who loved his wealth as if it were his life.

His endless teasing, and her numerous counter-attacks. She planned every advance with detail, and he met her with each step. As he excitedly went about making life difficult for her, all she did was sigh at his childishness.

The uneasy-proud-young noble’s odd actions, contrasted against the calm plotting of an unfazed blind girl.

*Haih (sigh), one should never invite the attentions of a petty man…*

The two were at loggerheads from the very beginning, and to no one’s surprise, they soon saw each other as the enemy, and neither tried to understand the other’s position. And thus it came to this, as long as the Young Lady did not give in, then the Young Sir would not leave her in peace.

A blind girl thrice married, but to the same person every time.

Thrice wedded, thrice wedded to; but together forever after. (Taken from NU)

The premise for March’s TBR Challenge is “Not in Kansas Anymore” which was super easy for me as I’ve still only been reading translated Chinese romance novels. No rebirth, transmigration, or revenge in this one, and yet it was so very delightful. In fact I loved it so much as soon as the book ended I immediately hit play and listened to it all over again. The blurb this time is pretty clear – but I didn’t have it when I started the book. The blurb in Hoopla was:

Stingy man are not to be taunted, “Vent one is hatred better than create more enemy!” If the girl doesn’t apologize for a day, the man will be pestering for one day. The relationship of them started with a cup of tea. A piece of music lifted and touched his heartstrings. Although he does not understand her qin (a stringed instrument), he does understand her feelings. She is blind and considerate. Blind women marry three times with one person. No matter what happens, I will be with you.

(Fair warning I’m watching a Cdrama, listening to an audiobook in Mandarin, and writing this review all simultaneously so my zero attention span is really cresting today. Apologies for mess and confusion.)  I was really curious as to how and why our couple would have to get married three times – and honestly was expecting a lot of melodrama and angst and misunderstandings, and was pleasantly surprised we didn’t really have that. First of all, the premise is great, the story is engaging, and the characters are all so interesting. We also have a bit of “enemies to lovers” which is NOT my usual trope – but they of course were never actually enemies, and I loved it so much!

Ju Mu Er (JME) is our heroine – she’s so incredibly smart, brave, resourceful, and one of the best heroines I’ve ever encountered. SO SMART. Her family and life situation isn’t that great – it’s just her and her dad. (Though their longtime workers are like family.)  Her father owns a tavern where he brews his own wine. She is and was an incredible talent at the (gu)qin but for multiple reasons became really low key after she fell ill and went blind. Mostly she stays home in her room – but it’s actually not so much because she went blind as she’s investigating the unjust execution of someone and worried about getting caught up in the fall out. She also secretly teaches courtesans (who sell their skills but not their bodies) how to play the qin.

One thing I thought that was interesting is that I don’t think our hero’s actual name is ever mentioned in the book. Everyone just calls him Long Er Ye (LEY) which means “Second Lord/Gentleman Long.” His surname is Long, he’s the second brother/master in his family. LEY’s older brother is the head of the household and is a general. LEY is a businessman, actually a bit of a miser, and has the Midas touch. The third brother “roams the Jianghu” – basically he’s a martial artist who avoids court and official matters, but manages intelligence for the family. LEY is also incredibly smart and resourceful, and his friend the emperor is furious with him for refusing to do more for the country by not becoming an official and working for the government. Although the Long family has done a lot for him. (And there’s the fact that if LEY were to become an official the emperor would be afraid of his cleverness and capabilities.) Lucky for everyone, LEY has no interest in power – just money.

The first time they meet JME tricks LEY into agreeing to build an awning for an entire street in the capital, because her friend who sells flowers was out in the rain and fell deathly ill, and she never wants that to ever happen to her or anyone else again. He never does anything for a loss, but this “little girl” gets one over on him. Unfortunately, this “something for nothing” leads to LEY being an asshole to JME for some time – and even spreading rumors about her. Thankfully she doesn’t really care about her reputation, and he’s more of a brat rather than malicious. (Others who are jealous of JME run with it and take it farther than he ever intended.) It’s ridiculous but the way it’s written is more cute than annoying that it kinda feels like this grown ass man falls into schoolyard crush tricks – he gets so interested in what she’s doing, how she’ll react to his pranks, and so on.

JME (yes our heroine!) is actually the one who proposes to LEY. She picks him first because she figures he/his family can protect her if and when disaster strikes … and next because this bitch is trying to force JME to become her husband’s concubine – even threatening her with the lives her of father and their longtime employees. (First, the bitch’s husband is in love with JME … but that’s not her motivation – she figures once JME becomes a concubine she’ll have total control over her, and can easily kill her with no repercussions.) I’d go propose to someone too to avoid that mess and protect my family. At this point, JME has already garnered LEY’s attention with her capabilities and cleverness – they’ve had a few direct interactions and exchanges, where he thinks he’s schemed against her but she always comes out on top.

Aforementioned bitch is one of the big villains of the book – she has JME kidnapped, and tries to kill her a bunch of times … and in order to hide her crimes even has her own sister kidnapped. This is a time and society (ancient China) where even if you’re kidnapped, because your whereabouts were unknown, and nobody knows what happened, your reputation and thus life is basically over. The sister’s marriage prospects are utterly ruined, and all her former friends shun her afterwards. The sister is one of the interesting characters too – she starts out as the first antagonist who seems awful, but actually isn’t – and she goes through the most growth in the book. (JME and LEY didn’t need to go through mush growth or change because they’re both already smart, awesome, capable, and good people.)

What I most loved was the incredible tacit understanding JME had with LEY. He comes to the rescue each time she’s in danger, and two major times he’s the only one who is able to find her due to the clues she left. (She’s hidden herself carefully, knowing she can’t run around in unknown places.) When she’s kidnapped by “mountain bandits,” told the two other girls she was with to run for safety and help while leaving her behind, she sets up a scene to confuse the kidnappers and direct them in the opposite direction, pretending she ran that way by throwing her walking stick there. The other time is when an assassin goes after her in her own home. LEY is the only one who carefully considers the scene and realizes the burnt corpse isn’t her, and finds where she’s hidden herself from the cut walking strings (that were tied as a guide so she could go to the woods behind her home safely).

Their love language is bickering, and it’s so cute. It’s not even traditional bickering – it’s him jokingly picking at her and “punishing” her (with good sex), and her always admitting her “wrongs” via stopping up his mouth by overturning black and white. He knows when he’s being unreasonable, but mostly just wants to see her reaction. (A cute example was once she tells him she admits her wrongs, and says you’re right, “I shouldn’t save people, I should just mind my own business and let others be kidnapped” and other ridiculous things like that.) It’s just all so sweet and fun and clever and delightful throughout the book. I listened to the audiobook, and it makes me sad the text translation appears to have been abandoned over on Novel Updates, though some people seemed to have happily read it on MTL.

Apparently there was even a television adaptation made based on the book, though based on comments I read about it a lot was changed, so I haven’t been interested in trying it yet. (Also I haven’t watched a drama when I’ve read the book first yet … so there’s that too.)

Back to the book – what I also loved was the reason why they had to get married – yes to each other! – three times. I generally try to avoid spoilers but as unfortunately there’s no English translation … I’m spoilering! The first time JME tricks LEY into divorcing her. This is where their “bickering” comes in – she writes him something to rile him up, and he writes a fake letter of divorce that sounds absolutely terrible. Nowhere does it actually say he wants to divorce her (he loves her madly) – but she’s too smart for him here, and lets it leak to a little magistrate who thinks he was clever and did LEY a big favor by officially pushing the paperwork through. JME set up this scheme because the former case is coming back around, and she’s afraid of implicating LEY’s family. If they’re divorced, her “crimes” will have nothing to do with them. The second time they get married it’s because of an edict from the empress dowager. (LEY pulled some tricks to make it happen.) Unfortunately, this marriage is dissolved by the emperor later when JME is wrongfully imprisoned and that other wrongful execution case is also unearthed. The emperor is protecting his friend(s) the Long family, the idea is the same as the first divorce. Once everything is settled LEY is obviously determined to once again gloriously marry his lady love. (This time she makes him work for it [even more.])

I was actually really sad there wasn’t more from our delightful leads. I wanted some slice of life once they finally safely get married the third time and can happily and sweetly live their life! The last (way too many IMO) chapters were based on side stories/the romances of other couples in the book. To be honest I felt that was basically the only flaw in the book. Even the villains I hated so much I were impressive, and noticed a lot of things in my second read I missed the first time around. I know I’ll listen to it again in the future. I think this is my favorite (Mandarin) audiobook read so far.

Grade: A

Best yet, I listened to this audiobook via the library Hoopla account.

I just realized on Novel Updates it’s listed as Three Marriages but for once I think the library title is actually more accurate.

2 thoughts on “TBR Challenge Review: 三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (Ming Yue Ting Feng)

    1. Limecello Post author

      It was so so cute!!! I really wish it was fully translated – lol then I could push people to read it! There aren’t many other people in Romanceland who understand Mandarin that I know of … and they def aren’t talking to me about books 😛


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