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The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo
Historical fantasy

The Fox Wife

Repeat author
Yangsze Choo is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Night Tiger.

by Yangsze Choo

Quick take

Taking inspiration from Chinese folklore, this winter tale follows a fox seeking revenge in the dangerous world of men.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International


Why I love it

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Author, Independence

From the very first pages of this novel, when I met the lovely, enigmatic—and clearly dangerous—Snow, I was entranced by her and her mysterious quest. The setting is fascinating—a winter-gripped Manchuria in the beginning of the twentieth century, being carved up by the Japanese and Russians. It is not a world I had encountered before, and it is portrayed vividly, interweaving history, myth, and magic beautifully.

Snow’s adventures will keep readers glued to the page as she works as a maidservant in the home of a rich Chinese medicine-seller’s family. She exudes a magical attraction that causes the wrong people to fall in love with her, and this lands her, as you might imagine, in heaps of trouble. All the while, she is being pursued by a tenacious detective, Bao, who is hot on the trail of a mysterious murder—and who has long been fascinated by the tales of supernatural foxes. But he’s not the only person following her. Who are those two handsome, mysterious men that Snow is trying to avoid?

Yangsze Choo is a consummate storyteller. When she finally reveals the secret behind Snow’s vengeful quest, I was shocked and deeply touched. I am convinced that readers, even those coming to Choo’s work for the first time, will be fascinated and satisfied by this unusual novel, at once human and magical.

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Manchuria, 1908.

In the last years of the dying Qing Empire, a courtesan is found frozen in a doorway. Her death is clouded by rumors of foxes, which are believed to lure people by transforming themselves into beautiful women and handsome men. Bao, a detective with an uncanny ability to sniff out the truth, is hired to uncover the dead woman’s identity. Since childhood, Bao has been intrigued by the fox gods, yet they’ve remained tantalizingly out of reach―until, perhaps, now.

Meanwhile, a family who owns a famous Chinese medicine shop can cure ailments but can’t escape the curse that afflicts them―their eldest sons die before their twenty-fourth birthdays. When a disruptively winsome servant named Snow enters their household, the family’s luck seems to change―or does it?

Snow is a creature of many secrets, but most of all she’s a mother seeking vengeance for her lost child. Hunting a murderer, she will follow the trail from northern China to Japan, while Bao follows doggedly behind. Navigating the myths and misconceptions of fox spirits, both Snow and Bao will encounter old friends and new foes, even as more deaths occur.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Fox Wife.

Read a sample →

Historical fantasy
  • The Fox Wife
  • The Familiar
  • The Invisible Hour
  • Circe
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow
  • The Kingdom of Back