To Be A Virtuous Wife

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As a virtuous wife, does it include tolerating his cousin, enduring his concubines, bearing his mother?

If you will not let me live freely, why would I let you live in satisfaction?

Did fate let women time-travel so she could learn the three morals and four virtues?

Rather than act like a coward and live, it would be better to live in satisfaction and die.

To Be A Virtuous Wife average rating 4.7/5 - 587 user ratings
Associated Names
One entry per line
He Wei Xian Qi
何为贤妻
Related Series
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Recommendations
Eight Treasures Trousseau (13)
Chu Wang Fei (12)
Mei Gongqing (7)
Husband, Be A Gentleman (6)
A Mistaken Marriage Match: Mysteries in the Imperial Harem (4)
Xian Wang Dotes On Wife (3)

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01/05/16 Dreams of Jianghu c123c123
01/04/16 Dreams of Jianghu c122c122
01/03/16 Dreams of Jianghu c121c121
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12/22/15 Dreams of Jianghu c109c109
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Kurobito
New Kurobito rated it
October 19, 2017
Status: Completed
The overall story is great and down to earth. It really depicts the life of a wife and concubines in those dynasty. What I am happy about this novel is that I finally get to read a MC that is not OP in every aspect i. E the MC does not know certain things like playing a weiqi. The only complain I have here is the translation. Yes. Nothing but the translation. I have to refer every now and then what is 同房 (tongfang) 贵妃 (guifei) and some other chinese... more>> term that can be actually describe it in English. I am a half banana and already suffered like hell. I can already imagine some people that does not know at all the chinese language. I know the translator want to preserve the originality of the terms and words but for god sake, please be considerate. There were grammatical errors here and there but I can overlooked that. All in all, I could have given this story a four star rating if it is properly translated. :/

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panisa365
New panisa365 rated it
October 9, 2017
Status: Completed
The synopsis doesn't do justice to the story itself. One can even say it's a bit misleading.

I also hesitated to read this even though I love other works from this translator since there was a mention of a harem. But there is actually very little component of that. The male and female leads are pretty monogamous for that era. This is also not a revenge story. It's more of a slice-of-life drama.

Best thing about this novel: The Main Character - a girl who time-traveled and ended up in... more>> the body of this wangfei. Her character is really unique. A modern woman who understands how things work in the world. Her character is what makes this novel really stands out among its kind.

Worst thing about this novel: The Male Lead - He's not bad. He's smart, good-looking, sensible, and loves the MC a lot. But his character is quite under-developed. I was waiting for him to break or react or just do something that shows his color, at least to the MC, but he never did. He gets boring after a while. I personally enjoy reading about the other prince whose life was turned upside down. His life was a lot more interesting than the male lead lol.

This is a slice-of-life story about life of a woman in an imperial family. Yeah, she has to deal with her mother-in-law and her husband's concubines and her own horrible family. But there's really no angst in it, no jealousy, no heartbreak. She dealt with everything like how she manages a company (she used to be a successful manager in previous life) which is quite funny but amazingly effective.

This novel is not a roller-coaster, it's more like floating in a calm river. Captivating but not exciting.

Because of its unique taste, I would have given it 5 stars, but then I cam across Eight Treasure Trousseau by the same author (I believe) which is essentially TBVW 2. 0 but a whole lot better, I couldn't help feeling this one is lacking, especially for the male lead.

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monaffmona
monaffmona rated it
March 17, 2016
Status: --
Long-ass rambling. If you're lazy, just read the last 3 paragraphs.

I'm so glad I changed my mind and decided to read this! Not what I expected at all.

I used to avoid this book like the plague (despite the fact that I came across it so many times on recommendations) because of its depressing synopsis. What's with "tolerating his cousin, enduring his concubines, bearing his mother"? Just seeing 'his concubines' is enough for me to avoid it. I don't read those kinda novels. If the heroine is abused, has... more>> to endure too many hardships, has to share her husband (even in ancient setting), etc, I don't read them. But this book is not like that at all.

(To be honest, I went ahead and read the epilogues before deciding if I should read this novel and that made me very partial to a character I wouldn't have paid much positive attention to otherwise, ahhhh just thinking about it makes me wanna cry T. T I'm glad I did that, though)

This book is about a woman from modern era transmigrating into the body of a timid, abused, beautiful noble girl who just recently got married to a wang ye (high ranked prince) who has a chance at ascending the throne. So basically she wakes up as a wang feI (princess consort).

The story is very unique in that it just features the everyday life of the female MC eg managing the wangfu, going to banquets, interacting with her husband, doing whatever to amuse herself/pass the time. Sounds boring but the fact that this is the life of the wife of a powerful prince who might one day sit on the throne makes it extremely fun, fancy to read about.

The female MC is very unique and I simply ADORE her. She is very smart, a bit lazy, and just wants to live a free/pleasurable/happy/satisfied life, but she's also VERY realistic, to the point of being apathetic in some aspects. She wakes up and finds herself in quite a predicament: unfavored wang feI in ancient era where women's quality of life mostly depends on the favor of their husband or their family background. What she does is simply ADAPTS to her current situation to perfection! She does her duties as wang feI flawlessly (sometimes I wonder how on earth she knows the perfect protocol/right things to do), (un?) intentionally attracts her husband with her beauty/charm/elegance, and simply lives a luxurious, pampered life where she can do pretty much whatever she wants (and that's what she wants) because she's very very smart in how she conducts herself and how she deals with people (I'd say she's very good at human psychology). She doesn't go out of her way to make others miserable, but she won't let anyone make her miserable and she's not merciful either. Here's how her husband describes her personality in the novel:

Spoiler

(this is from an epilogue)

How could the world have a woman like this? One who could be dignified, lazy, generous, cruel, and seductive. This kind of woman, any man couldn't help but look twice

^

which I think is pretty accurate (when you look from his point of view), though I doubt he ever got to know all of her, because based on her character, she wouldn't bare her all to him just for the sake of it. She's smarter than that)

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The male lead really makes me believe he's a powerful wang ye. He has the mentality of a prince in the ancient time – proud, ENTITLED, can be flippant, doesn't hold many things/people in high regards. He's also smart, cunning, calculating, ambitious, and becomes very infatuated with the female MC, always doting on her. The intrigue/attraction on his part is instant and the development is quite fast but somehow it's still realistic and very in character.

regarding his concubines:
Spoiler

The male lead has quite a few concubines (has had them long before he marries the female mc), but they can't do anything to the female MC at all. He sees these women as amusement/playthings, and he doesn't care for any of them (ancient era dude mentality). After he meets the female MC (new soul, after she wakes up), he only has her, so the couple pretty much have a monogamous relationship. In fact, he doesn't bother with the concubines at all. He only spends time with the female MC.

Anyway, for those who are very sensitive to concubine/mistress/Other Woman elements:

Spoiler

Even after he falls for her (which is practically at first sight to be honest, though it deepens with time), male lead doesn't dissolve his harem or see anything wrong with him having concubines and female MC having to deal with them (as per her duty as wang fei). As mentioned earlier, solid ancient era dude mentality. He doesn't sleep with them or bother with them simply because he doesn't want them. Period. Not because he thinks it would be wrong to do so. As the story goes on, the male lead gets more and more open with his affection, but the female MC doesn't believe he can be a 1-woman man or that his love could be everlasting. (she's veryyyyyyy realistic. poor guy. though, she has good reasons and I think that's a smart choice in her situation)

I'd say this book is pretty safe for even fluffballs like me who don't read books with OW elements at all and usually gravitate towards fluff. Though the vibe is blue/bittersweet/realistic (it keeps me on my toes as I don't know which way the story will go/will the male lead's affection lessen with time/ etc), it's still very swoon-worthy and there's not really any OW stuff. Male leads stays faithful and I'd say he's wayyyy more devoted to her than she is to him. = =

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In short, the story depicts the everyday life of the smart, calculative, realistic, and lazy female MC from modern time who woke up in the body of a young wang feI (princess consort) in ancient era.

A historical romance with strong slice-of-life elements. The tone is blue, bittersweet, realistic with a dash of fluff, sweetness, indulgence here and there. It sometimes makes me sigh 'ah, such is life... ', but mostly just makes me all giddy with how much He Heng pampers his wife >. <

There are calculations and schemes, but not those crazy complex evil plot gong saga. This novel feels weirdly calm and simple, but it's soooo addictive and exciting I just couldn't stop reading. <<less
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Llamia
Llamia rated it
March 19, 2016
Status: completed
Absolute gem. I love the “no bullsh*t” attitude. At first I was unhappy with the way the husband was with the previous Qing Yu, but then you realize how cute he is.
... more>>
Spoiler

Especially that part where he got drunk and he asked “Why don’t you ever believe me?”.

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I read the whole thing in 2-3 days. I was looking for something to appease the slow update of Chu Wang FeI and The Princess Wei

The Epilogues were both sad and fulfilling. The story was not a sad one, but the author lets us see not only the end of the MC and her husband, but a few of the side characters. Epilogue 1 broke my heart and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a while.

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Ecirteab
Ecirteab rated it
July 11, 2016
Status: c123
The summary is sort of misleading and put me off but once I started reading, I couldn't stop.

I very much like the MC. There's no angst about her past and from start to end, her confidence, knowledge of her place, and conviction is something that makes her so very endearing. She is one of the most unique MCs I've read about and the relationship between her and her husband is something I came to love very much.

... more>>
Spoiler

Her husband grows to supremely devoted to her and once he falls in love, basically never touches his concubines again. What I really loved, however, was the ambiguity of the MC's own feelings towards him. It is never explicitly stated and her husband is well aware her loves her far more than she loves him. However, as the novel so aptly states, actions prove far more than words and it is the MC's actions which truly reveal the depths of her feelings for him, and him for her. A very well suited couple.

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This is a slice of life novel set in a the 'harem' of her husband with the expected politics and stuff. It may sound strange but I found the slice of life style very fitting to the story and the lazy MC. Actually, it's more 'languid' than lazy I feel haha. It felt natural and devoid of unnecessary tension but still capable of intense scenes.

For me, the story really hit it's climax
Spoiler

at the emperor's death scene

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. It was truly an intense scene and the events leading and following it were amazingly depicted. The concluding chapters of the novel were (to me) very much poignant and beautiful, the languidness of the imperial past, the fleetingness of life, but also the beauty of love. The writing and translations were well done and didn't diminish from the story.

A very well done historical romance novel with a smart and fascinating MC.

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remy911
remy911
April 21, 2016
Status: --
This novel is transmigration, NOT reincarnation. Stop changing the tag.

Anyways, might as well leave a review. Reading this is a like a slice of life historical. It’s basically about the MC who is the main wife of a prince and manages his household and harem (other women).

It’s not a bad read, but I had to take a break from it because the translator is in love with pinyin and puts it everywhere. Having to remember vocabulary or refer to a glossary EVERY time a chapter releases is not... more>> enjoyable. (To be honest, I started just skipping over the untranslated words.) I’m not here to learn Chinese, I’m just here to read a story.

Impression so far: Likable heroine. Not too sure about the guy. Meh about the other women (very typical “harem politics”). Oddly calm story.

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The Lazy Slug
The Lazy Slug rated it
April 30, 2017
Status: Completed
I agree with the praises sung for this novel. All doubts I had upon reading the summary is anything but! I'm glad I read it in the end.

One thing I really love about this is the temperament of the characters. First, the female MC's views is simple, but logical and realistic given her situation. She knew the big discrepancy of views and roles between men and women in the era she transmigrated, and because of that, became quite understanding and sympathetic with her s*x -- why some of them... more>> turned to vicious schemings and the like. So to them, she bore no ill-will. She did not chase after / drive away / scheme against those other women who came before her to the ML's fu. In fact, she was considerate of them and sensitive to their needs, giving them the excess things she had, looking after their clothes and food during winter, etc. To those women who had themselves ruined, they brought upon that cruel fate to themselves.

As said, her principle and aims are simple: she would live her life to the fullest, spoiling herself silly with her privileges and taking advantage of her husband, until the latter would become tired of her. She wasn't afraid of death, so she's going to live her life as if it was the last.

Now, before any of you would jump to the wrong conclusion, when I said spoiled, I did not mean the haughty, unbearable kind of spoilt. In truth, the female MC is docile, but once wronged, she would not hesitate to use her power to punish and correct the wrong. Moreover, when I said take advantage of her husband, well, she's an intelligent woman to begin with. Considering with how men view women in this ancient setting -- treating them as bed warmer, saying things of love but not hesitating to sleep with another -- FL believed her husband would do the same someday. She wasn't very optimistic. So while her husband showed her favour, she won't push him away.

In a way, this kind of view reminded me of FL from Eight Treasures Trousseau, that other gem of a novel. XDD

Going back, well, of course, it takes two to do the tango. Even with FL being so pessimistic in her thoughts and loving outward, ML isn't stupid. In many occasions, especially near end, he expressed how he felt FL doesn't really have him in her heart despite them being together everyday. But then, rather than despising her, he took it upon himself to work extra hard just to show FL how sincere he was with his love, and remembered in his heart what FL said "action speaks louder than words". Yeah, he might've been similar to those normal ancient guys with how they treat women at first (if some of his monologues in the first chapters was any indication) but! He still has my good favours seeing how different he is throughout the story, wanting to set up a good example of a virtuous man and a loving husband.

He didn't really appear overbearing or the stand-offish kind to me. Granted he isn't completely innocent either, but with schemes of his own with regards to the ascension, but his heart was in place. For me, he was still the perfect candidate for Emperor. He doesn't look down on people and lead by actions and example.

Other than the characters, another thing I like about this, and the one thing that amazes me is that, in this novel, those three words were never said and exchanged between leads (despite this being a romance story). Instead, their love was painted by actions alone.

It's cute. It's sweet.

Moreover, the build up of events complemented the character growth, and their love, really well. The characters were well fleshed out. Their emotions delivered well, even without the need for words. The ending was really satisfying too. Overall, it's a novel really worth reading.

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Liri
Liri rated it
August 5, 2016
Status: Completed
I love reincarnation/transmigration stories, especially with political struggles, royalty and other similar tags, but every time I came to this story, I had chosen not to in favour of another novel, but I am so eternally glad that I gave it a chance, because this novel is a gem!

It's different than the other transmigration etc. Stories that I have read before, such as Chu Wang FeI or Descent of the Phoenix or Duke's Daughter.

Characters:

The MC is different from the typical MCs. If you put her next to the queen... more>> of assassins (DOP) or calm and ccapable and eloquent previous investigator (CWF), she would definitely take a backseat. Surely, she is capable, intelligent, praised to be beautiful like the others, but she takes no initiative at the game of politics. The path towards empress, she accepted or more like consented to it, instead of pursuing the position. Neither did she grandly scheme for revenge or plot, when it was unnecessary. In the end, all her 'achievements' were a response to the antagonists around her. Yet, even though she made no deliberate part in becoming empress, it is also clear that no one else could have been in her position. In a way, it is fascinating, because despite not actively achieving it, she is worthy, more than any other female characters in the story.

The male lead was dreamy, perhaps too dreamy. Maybe he was not made to seem perfect, his behaviour towards his other wives and his perception of females in general before he met the MC was callous, if not cruel. But in the eyes of the female reader, he was perfect, because in the end he wholeheartedly loved the MC and devoted himself to her her and only her, their whole relationship and their interaction mostly revolved around the MC, so who can complain?

The portrayal of other characters are also worthy to mention. Of course, there are the villains and antagonists and other cliches, but even dislikeable characters had their moments of sympathy and pity, especially women, who met a tragic ending.

Spoiler

I absolutely loved the MC's remark about her mother in law and the Empress. If it were not for the society, making them rely on one man, they could have been great. It's true. The Empress and her mother in law, a concubine, were remarkable, capable and intelligent, but they were wasted on the weak Emperor.


Then we also have strong-willed Jing An princess, a divorcee more or less and an important political figure, especially since she is divorced from her husband.


But it is He Yuan's story, which is most captivating in the last few chapters. I do not want to spoiler too much about him, only warning to watch out for this characters and that, even if I am not sure whether I (should) like him, the epilogue broke my heart.

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Plot:

Is there a real plot? I feel like the story was more about the relationship between the female and the male character rather than what goes on. I am not saying that there is no action, there is plenty.

The plot/ relationship is very slow-paced, which did not bother me at all. A little frustrated, but no complaint, because it made it seem more mature and real. There was no need for the sudden declaration of love. Love, the word itself, was rarely mentioned aside from silly usages from females, who wanted to get into the male lead's good graces or fancied themselves in love. I admired this very much and it is not surprise, because both are level-headed and cautious, especially the female. The fact that you don't read this between them, you can read this between the lines, which makes it so much sweeter.

I love the narration of the story. It also highlight some character's development, but also their complexity and the reader is given a chance to watch certain aspects from side characters, which is just wonderful. Many people say that the novel has a slice of life-element. It is an argument I can understand, because for a royalty, political struggle, revenge story, it has surprisingly less royalty, political struggle and revenge as the focus. These elements are there and yet, I think although they contribute, they are not the key factors that makes it so great.

I also love the take on the female role in society. There was one part in the story, which was beyond amazing and I think is worthy of being quoted.
Spoiler

"The biggest difference between men and women was that men were always best at forgetting the good of women and women was best at remembering the good of men. "


"Peaceful days will make people forget the beauty of the past. "


"If you forgot yourself, how could somebody else remember you?"

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The novel is titled Virtous Wife and although you can find reasons in that, I believe it does not serve it justice. It is so much more and especially the summary is very lacking. If not for the sake of the wonderful and excellent reviews and ratings, I would not have given it a second thought. When I did, I became so addicted. Luckily, the chapters are all already translated, otherwise it would have been torturing.

Overall, it is a wonderful novel, worthy of being read. I can recommend this to every person. At first, I had wanted to give it only four stars, because I was a little critical, there was no overly dramatic event, it does not have the same suspension and high and low like CWF, the MC cannot really complain, but in the end, it would be unfair, because I remember they joy I felt when reading the chapters. Furthermore, even though it is uncharacterstically happy and 'peaceful', there is nothing wrong about it, because sometimes peaceful and happy is a good contrast to the dark and angsty revenge plots.

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NastyOlRoshi
NastyOlRoshi rated it
June 9, 2017
Status: Completed
How should I put it. This novel does a fairly good job describing the events that take place before the current Emperor picks the next ruler, one of his children. And of course a bit of what happens after that. There's your typical internal harem bickering, fighting and scheming (that typical boring sh*t) and of course what happens in the daily life of female MC. As an imperial harem story it's quite informative and okay but everything else sucks. The intercourse scenes are heavily censored (unless the tl did that?)... more>> besides some teasing, scratching and touching it says he entered her and scene ends. Romance? There isn't any. That is actually what sucks the most. I never really felt like they have a very strong emotional bond with each other. More like they like each other, enjoy how the other person thinks and how convenient it is to be together? They never fully let themselves go, especially the female lead. Also there's no need for transmigration plot. It never really served any special purpose besides the change of personality, being cruel to family members (who may derserved that treatment) and dancing (which happens only once). Overall a pretty bad read, had higher expectations.

As for the htl, not to sh*t on it but the abundant amount of pinyin kills the joy of reading. Yes by the time you reach 25% of the story you more or less remember or have learned what everything means but it's still annoying. Translator put a lot of effort in and explained the reason he did it that way but I would have still prefered something simpler.

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Sae
Sae rated it
October 19, 2016
Status: Completed
Definitely a great novel of its genre, whichever you would categorize it into.

There is a fine balance between romance and noble/imperial life struggle, though it is more lighthearted and easy on the mind than other disadvantaged female reincarnation stories. The novel is straightforward, laced with humor and subtle philosophy, only 123 chap yet many moments are pure gold, I didn't regret a second of it.

There are no overly, obviously 1D dumb characters that put up a headache of prolonged nonsense verbal arguments. Many characters are realistic and some... more>> even delightful, those who appear simple are not really simple, befitting the era setting. The lead couple are smart people who excel at acting and hiding their true capabilities. Their interactions are thus interesting and spark great chemistry.

Minor
Spoiler

The MC is clear-headed, open-minded, charismatic, adapting and knows how to care for herself. She has a firm mindset and not afraid to live as freely as she could because 'the worse is just death'. She manages people skillfully and never goes out of her way to slight more people and create never ending cycle of enmity, nor actively trying to climb the power ladder. That's why she is lowkey, not showing off her might yet still greatly respected and able to enjoy her life though being a member of the imperial family.


The male lead's character can be considered pretty decent for the era and also for someone with the prince position. He is also capable yet even more lowkey, because he is the type that secretly scheming, and he is very good at it. The story being not from his pov also contributes to this. I eventually got to see how he is fitting to be a ruler, a skilled flirt but I never held him highly in the matter of romance and reading the MC's heart. However at c104, I realized that I underestimated him greatly. After that he gets better and better.

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The translation quality is thumbs up great, the translator is thoughtful and pleasant. The author leaves a good impression. 5/5 for everything.

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Iskandria
Iskandria rated it
March 3, 2017
Status: c123
This is an excellent light novel.

With only 123 chapters it is the shortest novel I've read so far, which is also completed, naturally.

Overall idea is a reincarnation of a smart female into the body of a unfortunate one. A classic. The female lead has no overpowered abilities. She simply has brains. Nice! As one might think, the chapters are on point and doesnt get lost in senseless explanations. 123 chapters, youre never getting bored or try to skip parts. A welcoming change. Story is simple, slaps are... more>> there but not as excessive as the classics.

Focus lies on the characters. Sweet, nice, and understandable. MCs have s*x. Nice! Villains are not purely villainous but comprehensible and with intelligent reactions and endings. Author puts emphasis on the fate of women in a similar time period as the Ancient chinese dynasties. Bittersweet, not always fulfilling, but intelligent and realistic. Do not fret, though, happy ending for MCs.

Low chapters mean not always satisfying appearences of side characters. Which is sad, since they are well made and likeable. Doesnt negatively influence the Story, though.
Had some good laughs along the way, so Humor is there. Nice!

Overall: Read this, its good.

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pichu
pichu rated it
May 10, 2016
Status: --
Lack of sleep for 2 days is worth it.

I enjoyed reading this story. There is no major conflict between the main characters, its more like nourishing love as time passed. Slow paced yet I can't stop reading it. Good job and thank you.

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alexfilia
alexfilia rated it
August 9, 2017
Status: c123
This novel was awesome!... it was really buetifully written <3

Its a slice of life story about womens lifes in an ancient china family

It deals with the struggles of being one in many where the husband may not like you, your family only wants to use you and your servants may not respect you... Untill you step up your game and take charge

Or that what the MC did when she lived her life
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Selax
Selax rated it
September 10, 2016
Status: c123
Awesome story. Couldn't keep it down. So addictive that I had to re-read it immediately. Definitely recommending this story to everyone. You won't be disappointed. Straight forward with no time wasted.

The female lead is amazing. One of the best reincarnation character that I have come across so far.

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Saiyademon22
Saiyademon22 rated it
July 26, 2016
Status: Completed
Okay all I could say so far will be very short for my type of reviews

CHARACTER:
-A bit two dimensional, not that you'll hate it or love it but good enough that you can follow their character and learn to know and like them as the story goes. Not much a fan of the male MC, because his to arrogant for my taste as the story starts bu latter on he becomes too stand offish later on. The female MC is not that heart-warming character but rather the cool type... more>> that most people would like in a female MC, not too fierce and not too gentle.
PLOT:
-a linear plot, imperial politics, but mostly the battle is at the female yuan (palaces) most of the story follows the general flow of the romance masses, with a mature characters to make it more realistic.
TECHNICAL WRITING:
-can't write much cause I had read the translated version. But it has a nice flow and an average used of wording, not too deep or too simple.
SETTING:
-The setting is very amiable well portraited, but not much on the details. (Better watch more chine historical dramas to be able to completely visualized the setting)
OPINIONS:
-one of the best story with female romance protagonist, so far aside from Empress with no Virtue, Chu Wang FeI these has one of the best historical drama/romance.

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Adelicya
Adelicya rated it
June 4, 2016
Status: c123
This is one of the stories I can say that I've truly enjoyed despite my love being action and adventure novels. A great slice of life with no love triangles or heavy politics involved story line which I see a lot of in historical drama.

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alaskame
alaskame rated it
May 6, 2016
Status: --
The novel is a slow-paced one with not much excitement and one might really forgot that the MC is reincarnated. If you want something drastic, you may feel a little disappointed. However, the story is lovely with a ticklish feeling for some who prefer slice-of-life style.

In my case, this novel made me sleep late at night, keep saying just a few more chaps... Now that I can finish the whole novel I should have a proper nap.
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Tarroyn
Tarroyn rated it
September 15, 2017
Status: Completed
Court intrigue is one of the many common settings of novels translated. Usually centered around female protagonists and Power Couples, its something very distinct, and yet so similar to the common Xuanhuan novel.

To be a Virtuous Wife circumvents this in a simple, if unorthodox way. Instead of focusing on the politics, the novel focuses on Qu Qing Ju's everyday life, and within that, the relationship she was married into. Similar novels that come to mind are A Mistaken Marriage Match: Record of Washed Grievances and A Mistaken Marriage Match:... more>> A Generation of Military Counselor. While both of these step away from the court intrigue style, and lay closer to the mystery genre, To Be a Virtuous Wife is much more similar in tone to these than the more Soap Opera-esque political drama novels, a la Chu Wang Fei.

The series reads a lot like a slice of life, but the main difference is definitely evident in the tone. To Be a Virtuous Wife (hence TBaVW) has a more serious tone then something like Death March, although the usage of power is more similar to the latter than the aforementioned novels. Although the setting lends itself to mystery and drama very well, TBaVW strays away from both of these, and focuses on Qu Qing Ju and her relationship with He Heng, rather than the myriad of external complications it could focus on.

Worldbuilding:

The world of TBaVW is nothing surprising, but well done nonetheless. The beginning group of princes is unorthodox, as is the lack of a crown prince. Something of special note is the more active role the emperor plays in this novel over others. Many times, the emperor exists more as a plot device than anything else, or is so simple that he could be considered one. TBaVW really humanizes the emperor, which breathes a lot of life into the setting.

Characters:

TBaVW, as romance tends to do, lives off the development of the characters. Fortunately, the characters are written very well. Antagonists don't boil down to simple-minded fools or overly arrogant "young master" types. The array of characters is broad, and each character feels distinct from the others, though so many occupy similar niches. Our main pairing is given enough depth to feel human, and their relationship isn't single-faceted, based purely on beauty or s*x. As a result, the relationship, while not feeling entirely natural (more ethereal than anything else) doesn't feel forced or fake.

Story Development:

The plot of TBaVW is a bit episodic, as it doesn't focus on a hero's journey. However, its distinctly separated from a slice of life by its focus on time and that things change over time. Whether it focuses on the fading of beauty over time or the fading of love or life, TBaVW greatly emphasizes the time throughout its snapshots of Qu Qing Ju's life. Within this timeframe, however, the series focuses on day-to-day life. There isn't constant parties one must attend, in which poison or drugs are thrown about like water. Neither is there an overwhelming sense of corruption within the greater government we see: although there is a system of nobility, it focuses more on propriety than legality, even within court sessions. One thing worth criticizing is the use and reuse of female characters throwing themselves at He Heng. This trope was one of the few carried over from other political intrigue novels, and it becomes a bit repetitive, though still enjoyable. That being said, TBaVW still has a sense of class within this trope: people look for tricks to attract his attention, rather than the drugs or competitions many novels like to favor.

Enjoyment:

TBaVW is marvelous in both its enjoyment with reading and its re-readability. Unlike Xuanhuan novels, which have oodles of pseudo-filler inbetween each readable moment of enjoyment, the entirety to TBaVW is re-readable in some fashion or another, and enjoyable on first reads as well. It really stands out as a fun novel to read even among novels of higher literary quality. A large part of this novel's enjoyability is also do to its incredible translation. The translation includes reference images as well as explanations of objects within the time period, which boosted my enjoyment of it quite a bit.

I heavily recommend To Be A Virtuous Wife to anybody. Even for people not usually into romance or political intrigue novels, To Be a Virtuous Wife has a charm to its main relationship dynamic that sets it apart from the usual novel of those genres, and for that I greatly recommend you read it.

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maiha-sama
maiha-sama rated it
May 23, 2017
Status: c123
Absolute love. This is a great example of a novel that doesn't need an overly convoluted plot or complex writing to be compelling, sweet and satisfying.

Qing Ju is one of my favorite female characters - she is lazy, realistic, street smart, mature and independent. She plays her cards right and makes sure she gets to do what she wants. Overall, she is pretty badass. Her and He Heng are quite the perfect foil for each other. He Heng seems to be boring at first, but as we read on,... more>> he is as scheming as he needs to be. He's a solid ML - a quiet black belly. By pulling the strings in the shadows, he was also able to make things play out the way he wanted. He deserved to be big boss.

So there's no surprise romance angle or anything - it is pretty much laid out at the start. Initially I was hoping there would be a third wheel to spice things up but after finishing the novel, I'm convinced the main ship deserves the sturdiness it had - despite everything. The endearing moments between the lead couple are a treat. A few scenes were really impressionable (QJ shouting at HH, the walk down the Palace stairs, the lantern festival) and will stay with me for a long time.

The slow build up of trust between the leads is whats worth reading and when that turns to love, its the cherry on the cake. The feelings that simple, quiet actions can convey are weightier than the feelings three words can hope to confirm. I especially liked how He Heng was accepting of her true personality and didn't ask her to change, ever. He covered for her and protected her. Though he was tempted at times, he didn't give in. It was lovely to read.

I was surprised at the amount of heartache I felt when reading about RuI Wang. It just ate me up.

The Chinese ranks could be confusing at first but as you read similar novels, it becomes easier to relate to them. So I'm glad to have read the novel with the terms untranslated.

Don't be surprised if you called yourself chen qie

on occasion.

Bengong is off for a cup of tea :) <<less
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Molenir
Molenir rated it
March 18, 2017
Status: c5
I read 5 chapters, and was completely bored. Additionally the translation was extremely poor, with many words deliberately left untranslated, leaving us trying to remember or guess what ce fei, fu, wangfei, and so many more words mean.

When you need to constantly refer to footnotes to read a chapter, it becomes less entertaining, and more of a chore. I normally like stories in this genre, but the combination of slow start, and bad translation did me in.

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KKristen
KKristen rated it
February 12, 2017
Status: Completed
TL;DR:
This is a slice-of-life story with a realistic depiction of life as a woman of ancient Chinese nobility. The romance, character development, and plot moves slowly but steadily. There are no plot-holes and the ending will leave you satisfied.

RECOMMENDATION:
5/5 for good, realistic writing.
Highly recommended -- but only if you are patient and interested in politics, a very slow-burning romance, and ancient Chinese culture (with no magic or martial arts). You also should enjoy scandals and seeing noble women throw a lot of shade.

It may... more>> sound a bit boring because it lacks battles and wild main characters, but I thought it was intriguing and really enjoyed it!

PLOT:
To Be a Virtuous Wife is a slow and steady historical fiction about a modern woman who is reincarnated in the body of an girl who has recently married a royal prince. She navigates his harem, deals with other noble women, manages his household, wins him over, and supports him as his brothers fight to become emperor.

The reincarnation aspect is more of an explanation for her personality and understanding of people, rather than a crutch, source of power, or major plot point.

TONE:
This novel really feels like a slice-of-life: slow and consistent most of the time, occasionally exciting, occasionally emotional. It really is about how the main character lives day-to-day (though there is also a real plot that advances steadily). The tone is good-humored, rational, and intelligent, just like our main character.

Also... in case you're worried about the romance... even though the actual love develops slowly, the flirting and interactions are constant and really enjoyable!

CHARACTERS:

Qu Qing Ju - She was a skilled manager in the modern entertainment industry, so she understands a lot about the tricks and temperament of people. When she is reincarnated she rationally chooses to live her new life fully and to the best of her abilities. She is intelligent, mature, knows how to behave, and has no disillusions about love between men and women. Her character development from a friendly but distant reincarnatee, to a wife more invested in her new family, is subtle and well done. Although she is extremely skilled with people, overall she is a very realistic MC.

He Heng - The noble wangye husband. He's a very smart man who knows how to stay out of political trouble and knows how to treat his wife (even if there is no real love between them). He is familiar with the lies of nobility and the wiles of women. He becomes more and more likeable as a character as he learns to respect and rely on his wife and his affection for her slowly grows. (He also becomes somewhat of a masochist without realizing it, which is very enjoyable to read.)

Other nobility - They are very present characters and you understand their weak and strong points. He Heng's three brothers each have distinct personalities and schemes. His mother and sister are amazing women. Some of the antagonistic women are a little too arrogant and obvious, but it's done in a realistic way. The women constantly throw shade at each other (in a very sneaky and elegant way, haha).

Other side characters (such as servants) - They aren't bad but they aren't as fleshed-out as the nobility. I didn't mind.

TRANSLATION:
The translation quality is very high, especially when it comes to poems and thinly-veiled insults. The translators are very good at expressing the right feeling.

However, there is a steep learning curve with lots of Chinese words and titles that can make getting through the first few chapters difficult. I think this is a common occurrence with Dreams of Jianghu's translations. But as always, they are really great at choosing really smart and well-written stories (these are the same folks who translate World of Cultivation). <<less
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JoAnna
JoAnna rated it
January 28, 2017
Status: Completed
There is only one word that can describe this story perfectly - SUGAR.
And, like the sugar that it was, it was addictive.

This whole novel was too sweet that I thought I was getting diabetes!
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