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Not such a secret fantasy novel

02/08/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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'The Secrets of Jin-shei' has been chosen as Library Paperback Book of the Month for September in the UK.

The novel by Alma Alexander is set in a mythical China and follows the lives of eight young women, bound together by the ancient custom of jin-shei, a sworn sisterhood that cuts across all strata of society, recognizing no rank or social standing.

It is "a completely magical piece of writing," says Chocolat author Joanne Harris.

"Combine 'The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood' with 'The Joy Luck Club,' add elements of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,' and you have this astonishing novel," says an Australian reviewer for China Books. The Library Journal said the book is "sure to be popular with fans of Amy Tan, Gail Tsukiyama, and even Marion Zimmer Bradley."

The U.S. edition (hardcover) is available from the publisher: HarperSanFrancisco (SBN 0060563419).

Alma has two new fantasy novels coming out next year from Harper Collins. The first book in the duology, "The Hidden Queen", will be available in paperback in the spring of 2005 with the second, "Changer of Days", to follow in the summer.

Alma lives in Bellingham WA and more information is available at

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