The Gilded Cage


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Chu Ning’s father was falsely accused. Suddenly, she became the daughter of a disgraced minister and was almost reduced to s*avery. Fortunately, the Crown Prince pitied her and honored their engagement, making her his main wife.

Chu Ning thought that she was fortunate to have married the Crown Prince.

However, she later found out that her savior was the very person who killed her father.

Soon after, the Emperor was gravely ill. Xiao Kezhi, the Prince of Qin and the Crown Prince’s sixth uncle, led an army into the city and took the throne from his nephew.

When Chu Ning saw the silent man with a wolf-like gaze, she gathered her courage and extended a tentative hand.

. . .

Xiao Kezhi had spent the last fourteen years in the dangerous and cold borderlands. He was a decisive and ruthless man.

His wrath was terrifying. As soon as he ascended the throne, he eliminated all of the Crown Prince’s allies.

However, the Crown Prince himself was strangely left unharmed.

Rumors spreaded everywhere, but none were close to the truth.

Only Xiao Kezhi himself knew why he had left the Crown Prince alive. He did it for the sake of the beautiful and delicate Crown Princess.

. . .

Later, in order to gain more powers, the Crown Prince forced Chu Ning to step down as his main wife.

Chu Ning calmly relinquished her position and voluntarily entered a Taoist temple.

Everyone thought that she was just putting up a brave front. However, no one knew that on the night the Crown Prince remarried, the Emperor paid a visit to the temple.

The next day, Chu Ning changed out of her Taoist robe, did her hair, and entered Taiji Palace. She smiled calmly at the horrified Crown Prince and his new wife.

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15 Reviews sorted by

silent hobby
silent hobby rated it
August 6, 2021
Status: Completed
It is about liberation and rediscovered self worth, at least that is what I learned about this story.

When the MC’s family crumbled down, she surrendered to “ her saviour” and become his wife, when many people told her that she is lucky to become crown princess despite of “ her criminal father”, she devoted herself to serve her husband and accept his mental and s*xual abuse. I think she numb herself to survive. She lost herself worth and forget her true self.

Until the ML, the emperor “guiding” her to express... more>> what she truly wants.

Although they have affairs, the ML interested to MC because of lust at first but they falls in love in the process.

What I want to express is many women throughout the ages being suppressed and being told that the husband is their last harbour and having children is to tie down this “last harbour”. A wife obligated to serve the husband and put the family first. I agree that women should take care her family but it is also the responsibility of all family member to take care each other.

As a woman, she should take care of herself first before anything else. When woman put herself first it doesn’t mean that she would neglected anything. Just like the wise man said, take care your own business before someone else.

When somebody is happy, she/he will spread positive energy around her/him. <<less
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Ecirteab rated it
July 13, 2021
Status: Completed
A mature romance set in the imperial harem. Caveat- FL cheats on her husband with ML ... more>>

also sleeps with her husband after the affair begins.

This may be a deal breaker for some but this story is very worth it and while it may be morally wrong I think the interactions are very well written and set up.

MC - in many ways, representative of a woman of her times in the best way possible. She's trapped in a marriage with a two faced husband, doesn't have the support of any family and has very little to her name. But that doesn't make her weak, MC is very emotionally strong and is willing to bet herself to get what she wants.

ML - pretty interesting guy, when he knows what he wants he'll try his best to get that. Very atypical for a man of that era regarding love but makes sense with his life. Respects MC and wants to be a good father and husband

Romance - pretty explicit without actually being explicit, MC takes a lot of initiative (for selfish reasons) but nice to see. Enjoyed seeing the relationship develop from lust to love and that in the end, ML allowed MC the emotional freedom to come to terms with her feelings and properly choose to be with him. Maybe it can be argued that she might not have much choice (the era and her situation) but I think he genuinely wanted her to learn her own feelings.

Extras are all very nice and I enjoyed that all the romances had every be properly honest to each other. The last extra is the most interesting with its points on right time right place as well as a twist on the usual extra about "meeting earlier". <<less
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marchmallow rated it
September 14, 2021
Status: Completed
It's as the summary says. The Crown Prince schemed to marry the FL as an "act of benevolence", but in actuality, he instigated the downfall of her family for the reason that:

... more>>

FL's father refused to swear allegiance to him and wanted to remain neutral, so Crown Prince decided to frame him. BUT he still wanted FL, so he set up this elaborate farce about pursuing marriage with the daughter of a criminal minister to be hailed as some benevolent person. The thing is, even before that, they were already engaged to be married for so long. It seemed that literally everyone knew they would marry, but apparently that wasn't enough for that two-faced and profiteering ass of a Crown Prince.


The author's focus is likely on the development of the ML and FL's relationship, which is laid out quite well, so there isn't much going on, especially with the main story ending at around chapter 80 (?) or something.

FL, as earlier reviews have stated, is an average ancient woman who has very little power. She initially trusted her husband and truly believed him to be benevolent, so she pandered to him and tried to justify his abuse (yes, he abused her) in her head. But after she finds out all the atrocities he has committed (like ruining her family), all her feelings very quickly turn into loathing (as they should). Then, her imperial uncle comes along and somehow robs the throne from her husband just before he (Crown Prince) was about to succeed it. The one thing she's confident about is her outstanding beauty, which she leverages to her advantage.


FL successfully seduces ML (for revenge and security, 'cause ya know, she found out her husband actually killed her entire family, and who else could beat him but the man who stole his throne?) and they have an affair.

The uncle isn't entirely reprehensible for sleeping with a married woman: his nephew's wife, no less. He decides to acquiesce to FL's advances because, well, firstly, she's beautiful and he was genuinely sexually attracted to her; secondly, he knows that the Crown Prince is a two-faced bastard, and; lastly, he wants to know what propelled FL to this point.


ML is OP from the start. Most c-novels end with ML finally ascending the throne, but around the beginning of the story, ML has already reached this finish line, while FL is just at her starting point. But that's fine. He encourages FL to explore what it is she truly desires, since a large part of what motivates her to do certain things is her family (clearing her father's name, etc.). He wants her to be with him because she truly wants to.

It's a great and short read. The romance isn't too in-your-face, but the s*xual tension is insane. 4.5/5, but rounding it up to 5 stars.


My only gripe here is that I feel like the Crown Prince is too weak of an antagonist. He's dumb and rash, so he never really stood a chance.

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mercipourleslivres rated it
October 22, 2021
Status: Completed
This read like a classic bodice ripper romance... the FL seduces her husband's uncle in order to get revenge for her father's death and then both of them catch feelings. Also, don't bother feeling bad for her husband. He's basically a Chinese Prince Joffrey.

There wasn't really any explicit smut which kind of surprised me? But the ML does really like tying people up. :P

Super glad this is getting translated, would definitely recommend it.
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stony27 rated it
November 23, 2022
Status: Completed
hfdkhfk my new favorite...

The story basically follows the summary to a T except for the reason why the new Emperor kept the Crown Prince around for so long. It wasn't just for the Crown Princess' sake, it was also to take his time and dig up damning evidence in order to prosecute the Crown Princess righteously as to not incite the masses' wrath.

The MC, Chu Ning is a woman of her time: she's an exemplary wife—virtuous, obedient, and filial, and like the other women of her time, she will go... more>> to very drastic means in order to attain her goals with her limited prospects as a noblewoman in a rigid patriarchal society. She's also very beautiful and still quite young (17-18 which is considered pretty mature by Tang Dynasty standards), a fact she takes full advantage of when she realizes she'd been used and lied to during her entire marriage. The part I like about her most is her ability to assess her priorities, adapt, and set aside her values in order to get what she wants. However, what she wants is often something that's not for herself but for her family and implicated relatives.

Meanwhile, the ML, Xiao Kezhi is someone on the opposite spectrum. In case it's not clear from him basically usurping the throne, he doesn't care for reputation the way his imperial predecessors do and frets even less over the social ethics of his actions. He's very unconventional and utilitarian in the sense that to him, the ends will always justify the means. He enters this stage as a ready-made winner: he's already the Emperor. Early on, we come to see that palace intrigue and the intricately-woven schemes of the imperial family and nobility cannot faze him because he will not respond with the same kind of blow. His methods are crude but effective. When challenged, he either straight up ignores the courtiers or makes a bloody example out of them to settle their peers down. As a straightforward military man, he distinguishes his relationship with the people around him very clearly and reward and punish accordingly.

The novel in general seems to base a lot of things from Tang Dynasty history. I think it even name-dropped real Emperors (not very sure because the eng romanization is the same but maybe it's not the same in Mandarin). Even MC's story is quite similar to that of the legendary Yang Guifei's. Noble Consort Yang was born Yang Yuhuan and married Li Mao, Qing Wang when she came of age. Later on, she earned the attention of his father, Emperor Xuanzong who then arranged to have her separated from her husband and turned into a Taoist nun for a brief period. He then arranged a new bride of his son before bringing Lady Yang back into the palace as a concubine.

Spoilers on Chu Ning's past


When MC was young, her father, Chu Qingyu (CQY) was a talented and beloved court official esteemed for his upright deeds and model conduct. Because of his prestige, the previous Emperor asked him to betroth his daughter to the Crown Prince, Xiao Yu (XY). Despite being reluctant, CQY could only acquiesce as he was but a subject. At some point, he accidentally uncovered the plot of XY attempting to assassinate the Emperor and secure his throne but instead of reporting it to the Emperor, he privately confronted XY. Feeling cornered, XY secretly falsified evidence and presented it to Emperor claiming that CQY was having an affair and colluding with a favored Noble Consort to poison the Emperor and crown a younger imperial son as Emperor. In one fell swoop, XY was able to eliminate the person who had dirt on him, the woman whispering in his father's ear, and his biggest contender for the throne.

Because of his actions, the entire Chu Clan was condemned and punished. The men were executed while the women were sold into s*avery and exile. MC and her maid Cui He (CH) managed to evade this fate when XY publicly insisted on keeping his promise to marry her and going through with it. By doing so, he was able to secure the political support of the talented officials who believed in CQY's innocence and make MC feel indebted to him.

During their marriage, MC tried to excuse a lot of questionable actions (ranging from violent tendencies to marital r*pe) because of her gratitude for him helping her. YZ appeared upright and gentle in public, but in private, he was often volatile and paranoid. Although MC was reverent and even fearful of him, she could never love him because of the way he treated her and the people around them. He often beat and abused the servants when he was angry with her. Once, she gave food to a beggar boy who grabbed her on the streets. XY found out and had him brought back to the Eastern Palace where he made her watch them break the boy's arms. Another time, a maid tried to seduce XY but because of his paranoia, he believed she was a spy sent by the Empress Dowager and tortured her for information, leaving a lasting impression on MC. The most horrible of revelation MC had about him before finding out he was behind her father's frame job was when her maternal cousin, Zhao Yanzhou (ZYC) admitted XY castrated him.

Since childhood, ZYC had lived with the Chu family like a son but was able to escape punishment when CQY was framed because he was from a different surname and therefore clan. Due to his affection for the family, he couldn't bear to leave MC behind and agreed to work for XY. XY privately told him that he had the choice to either leave and never meet MC again or agree to work under him but live the life of a eunuch.

After MC found out her husband framed her father through a former Chu family steward that ZYC found, she was overcome with hatred and began to plot the Eastern Palace's total fall from grace.


ML and MC's relationship build-up


First of all, I just want to emphasize how taboo sexuality is for 'proper' women in ancient society. "Good" women were supposed to be virtuous and chaste, and instead of seducing their husbands, they ought to present themselves as pure and saintly, not passionate and desirable. MC was raised in such a society, so even if her father didn't force such a mindset on her, it would still be ingrained. When she was grasping at the ropes for a chance to do right by her family, she had to overcome a lot of mental barriers and anguish in order to steel her heart and do what she needed to do. She used her body like a tool because that was all she had. That's all a woman in her kind of society has (f*ck you patriarchy). She did many shameful things that only prostit**es from that time did. At some point, she even made a sort of lingerie out of her inner-wear. I think such a thing was considered so debauched and le*d that even a concubine from an average family would never think to resort to it. (not saying men won't like it though. they might like it, but it won't stop them from condemning it and looking down on the women who use such means since they can have their cake and eat it too)

From the start, it was actually Chu Ning who approached Xiao Kezhi. She deliberately made a show out of revealing her most beautiful features and stirring his interests. Because of her impression that he valued talent and disdained corruption, she took the risk to try and beg for help in exchange for her body. Over the course of a few months, she put aside her pride and honor as a proper married woman and exhausted all her means to entice the Emperor into entering a s*xual relationship with her. At that time, all she wanted was protection and the promise that he'll properly investigate her father's alleged crimes.

We see that since her first attempt, ML had been moved in addition to being sexually attracted to her. Even so, he was suspicious of her due to her identity and did not want to give XY any leverage over him. What's more, he knew her father and also believed in his innocence but was confused and intrigued as to how different CQY and MC seemed to be to him. We see him question her intentions but not reject them. Time and time again, they would have high-tension intimate encounters in numerous places in the forbidden city only to be interrupted.

Eventually, ML would send XY away on a work venture and discreetly arrange for MC to visit him in the cover of the night. They consummate their affair at last. ML thought that after scratching the itch, he'd eventually lose interest but the opposite happened. He began to make the s*xual encounters a regular thing, but as their contact increased, so did his affection. He prepared a contraceptive pill for MC that was specially prescribe to harm her body as little as possible. Usually, MC would always drink a decocted contraceptive soup after interc*urse with her husband. At first, it was because she wanted to keep filial piety for her father but after her discovery of the truth, she continued taking the soup out of hatred and disgust.

Even so, he was still a bit vigilant around her as she had yet to tell him what she wanted. MC intentionally held off asking for the favor because she wanted to secure his interest in her first. Around this time, other love rivals appeared such as Qi Chenxiang and Zhao Yu'e appear. Qi Chenxiang was the niece of the Empress Dowager and was pushed by her family to become ML's Empress. She eventually backs off on her initiative because she was disgusted by his wanton behavior with other women (uhhh to clarify, all these 'women' are actually just MC in different disguises) and his lack of interest in her. Meanwhile Zhao Yu'e was a beautiful widow who was aiming to become a favored consort in other to protect her corrupt family from doom. She would later be rebuked for attempting to drug and sleep with the ML as a last resort.

Eventually, MC admitted that she wanted to ask for his help to get justice for her father. ML agreed and said he'd always intended on doing so anyway even without her to compel him. He also finally dropped his guard around her when he realized her goal in approaching him had never been for the Crown Prince's sake. From this point on, he'd realized he already loved her and even asked that she leave her husband and legitimately be his woman in return. MC agreed in a perfunctory way but ML was not satisfied. He told her to forget it for now because he wanted her to come to him on her own. Throughout their relationship together, a recurring theme in their conversations is her lack of regard for herself. Even during s*x, ML was often surprised and pained to find that she tended to ignore her own desires and needs in order to tend to her partner. Because of this, he took the time and effort to teach her how to enjoy herself, something I think she's never associated with interc*urse because.

ML never disdained her for being married or found her seduction vulgar and beneath him. When he realized he loved her, he immediately began to plan for a scenario for him to bring her into the palace with as much resistance as possible. Before his grand revelation, he'd already had two incidents that earned him a reputation for being a casual and fickle lover. During a hunting event, he openly led a cloaked young lady from the crowd (MC) into the imperial tent for 2 hours before re-emerging visibly disheveled, causing a wave when people began speculating whether he'd start filling the harem. Unexpectedly, he never brought the 'young lady' around again or gave her an identity, causing the nobility circle to feel that he's a rogue. The other time, he was drugged during the Empress Dowager's birthday and had to change his liaison venue in the last last minute. He went up a pavilion and had MC dress up as an imperial maid to hide in his arms while the crowd gossiped over his manwh*re ass. The 'imperial maid' was also never given a title.

After he decided to intentionally slander his own reputation, ML began to arrange for singers and dancers to parade the hall of his palace every night, causing the courtiers and nobility circle to believe that he was indulging in hedonism and carnal pleasures of the flesh with the entertainers when in reality, he'd spent his nights meeting up with MC or clearing out work. At a lantern festival, he had MC undress so he could paint her body with her favorite flower and then redress as a masked dancer. He then paraded her around his halls in his arms and roused another wave of disgust for his open lechery. For his last trick, he made MC dress up as a veiled noblewoman with her hair visibly done up to show she was married and had her carried into his bedroom. The Empress Dowager caught wind of this and was so angry she sent her attendant to tell him she wanted to see him at once. The chief eunuch refused to announce her right away so she barged into the room thinking it'd embarrass the Emperor into stopping but he just ignored her behind the screen and continued his flesh sheathing.

Around this time, XY had begun to accept that his only chance of restoring his power was by allying himself with Zhao Yu'e's brother and his army. Because of his feelings for his wife, he hesitated in deposing her but eventually caved to ML cutting off all his support and brought up stepping down as the Crown Princess to MC. MC pretended to be unwilling at first as to not alarm him and only agreed after his trusted aid blackmailed her using her remaining relatives' safety. MC consented and XY tried to reassure her that nothing would change other than her title. He told her he would still sleep with her, eat with her, and look forward to meeting her every time he came home not knowing how much each prospect disgusted MC. He even promised that once he won the throne, he'd install her as the Empress and main wife again.

In the end, he used the excuse of MC not having given birth these past 2 years to ask the Emperor to consent to his demotion of the wife. At the same time, MC asked to step down as Crown Princess to the Empress Dowager who redirected her to the Emperor. ML consented to both requests at once and just as XY was pondering why everything seemed to be going so smoothly, MC dropped a bombshell saying she was also willing to become a nun and move to the Taoist temple reserved for members of the imperial family. XY begged her not to go and suddenly realized that she might have known something about her father because he did not believe she could do something so heartless if she did not hate him. By this time, it was already too late. XY had to proceed with his plan and ask to marry Zhao Yu'e (ZY) which the Emperor also agreed to allow.

During all this, MC had moved to the temple and lived a comfortable life as arranged in advance by ML. He continued to make nightly visits to her and it was here that she confessed she loved him back and was willing to follow him. They shared several sweet moments and talked about their experiences together as they planned for the future. On the night of XY and ZY's wedding, ML openly walked from his palace all the way to the Taoist temple and entered MC's bedroom unhindered so the attendants could be their witness. The next morning, he brought her and all her luggage out to his resting hall and had her move in right away, having already prepared a decree to confer her as Empress and even reassured her that he would never take another woman on the side. When XY and ZY came to perform their post-wedding morning greetings, they had to meet the new Empress shell-shocked and horrified. From here, everything began to unravel and XY and ZY's increasing desperation to not get ensnared by ML's purge of the imperial court ended up in them convicting themselves and sentenced.

XY is confronted by MC and finally confirms that she knew all along. To add insult to injury, she admitted that she'd been having an affair with the Emperor all this time and let XY fly into his raging monologue and verbal hypocrisy. XY ends up dying in prison ahead of his execution after being convicted of all his crimes including the frame job of CQY. The novel ends with the ministers going from reluctantly accepting MC as the Empress to being contentedly accepting of her after her father's charges were cleared. After they'd seen the Emperor favor an unmarried noble girl, a maid, a dancer, and a married noble woman, a formerly married daughter of a loyal minister no longer seemed like such a nasty option.


Extra stories (Chapter 79-87)


ML and MC end up living happily ever after and giving birth to a pair of dragon and phoenix twins. MC also started a school for imperial maids after learning that ML's mother and little cousin wanted to learn but were unable to in their youths because of their lack of money and identity. (Sigh details like that... they always make me sigh idk). MC's beloved maid Cui He ended up marrying ML's trusted general. MC's cousin-brother also ended up with a girl he saved from being sold into s*avery after her whole family was convicted (yeah I didn't mention this before but he actually has the hots for MC he just never acted on it. good on him for moving on or attempting to though).

There was also another extra piece of a what-if world where ML and MC met sooner. In that world, ML saved MC before she could marry the Crown Prince but had to do so in disguise as to not violate the decree that forbids vassal kings from entering the capital without an imperial summon. Because of his actions, the imperial court became alert of his activities a year too soon and the Crown Prince proposed to join forces. ML refused, causing all factions of the court to ally against him. To top it off, the barbarians at the border saw the internal strife as an opportunity to invade. ML turned his forces to the border issue first and was able to win but since his forces had yet to reach their full potential, he was overwhelmed by the imperial armed forces and died on the battlefield. This extra life comes to ML in the form of a dream, causing him great melancholy when he recalled the contents. After getting up, he came to see his wife and children right away and held the family in his arms, telling MC how grateful he was to have met her at the right time; not too early and not too late.

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maiha-sama rated it
January 18, 2023
Status: Completed
Decent read. There's no surprises, not much political intrigue either. But you get immersed in the story right away. The MC is a great example of a woman of her times, suppressed, forced to settle and bear with her situation. As the daughter of someone who was convicted, she has no backing and marries the crown prince hoping he will help clear her father's name. I thought her initial indifference, rare boldness and later growth were shown well. I liked her maid as well.. She's a really bold and loyal... more>> one.

The ML is a breath of fresh air. Several times I felt touched by how he treats the MC. He doesn't force her to do things she disliked, gives her space and time. He wants their relationship to have a foundation of respect, communication and love despite starting off from desire. The author attributed his behavior to his time in the battlefield and the experience of seeing his mother give up everything. Anyway this is a very very rare ML.

The other characters aren't anything to write home about. The Crown Prince is the only other perspective we have. He was a bit pitiful for a few chapters when he fretted about asking the MC to give up her place. But he made his choice. In the end, like a typical wuss, he blamed the MC for everything.

I liked it. Worth a shot but expect exactly what's promised. <<less
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frostcrystal rated it
December 7, 2022
Status: Completed
The plot is very like Remarried Empress, differing in two aspects: 1) Imperial China 2) MUCH smuttier. While it isn't outright erotica, there's a lot of flower metaphors, fading to black and... bondage??

Although MC actively has an affair with the ML while she's married, don't worry - you won't feel bad for her husband at all. He's quite a terrible person. MC is one of those strong women in a bad situation who is able to appear very weak on the outside, and I liked that she was much more... more>> familiar with s*x than ML.

All in all, it's a well-written, well-characterized, slightly cliché but very satisfying revenge story, and as I am here to be satisfied, 5 stars. <<less
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iheartlasagna rated it
September 12, 2022
Status: Completed
I quite enjoyed this book, even though you already know who the MC will end up with. The ML is primarily just a supporting character here. It felt like, the ML was the protagonist in another book and this book is just a spin-off from the ML’s story.

The starting point of the MC as the Crown Princess gives the reader the impression of how she is the perfect supportive wife to the Crown Prince... until you read on, and layer by layer, the reader discovers how awful her situation really... more>> is. The way she plots to get out of her predicament and the things she had to do in order to survive makes me really happy that I was born in a period where women has rights and not treated as chattel. Because she was subjugated by her husband during her marriage, even though she plots to get away from him, it was hard to mentally break free from the “labors” that she had to do for him (even if she is fatigued) that has become habitual for her. There was actual personal growth, that she learns to respect herself, owning up to her needs and desires that would give her comfort. But she realizes this with the help of the ML and of course it takes a while to get there. There was a brief moment in the story, where I actually felt sorry for the Crown Prince, until I remembered all his actions, then it’s “serves you right you @$****3!

As the story progresses, the plot is predictable. But still a good read. I actually marathoned this to the very end. <<less
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Rubyspecs rated it
April 3, 2022
Status: c75
Simple, sweet and nice chemistry.... relaxing read. It was fun and new to see MC cheating on her husband with ML, and ML had quite a lot of quirks hehehe... and it was also new and realistic to see that author didn't set up any circumstance or plot for MC to stay virg*n before meeting ML. Like in many novels, even if they have the MC married, but for some or other reason they ensure MC is 'pure' before entangling with ML.
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kawaii12345 rated it
July 10, 2021
Status: c2
TLDR: It's a very well written opening that does a great job of bringing the reader into the novel's world. If it maintains this level, it will be a great read.

So far we have a realistic setting involving court intrigue, a family framed and destroyed, and the MC who has been navigating through it. There hasn't been much in the way of character development yet, but the MC has been able to hint at what she will be like. I look forward to reading the rest
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Mehmeh713 rated it
May 21, 2023
Status: Completed
Very sweet and passionate romance. While they do start from an affair (and I generally hate that), the FL's husband was so abominable as a husband and as a human being that I was very happy when the FL approached ML in order to avenge herself and clear her father's name but in the process of the affair, she finally regained herself (she was stifled to death by the crown prince) as well as a loving wonderful partner. On the ML's side, while it started from lust, he was still... more>> pretty considerate towards her from the very beginning and he prioritized her and her feelings more and more as their relationship continued. If I had to compare the two relationships the FL had, it felt like FL and ML were in a consensual relationship from the beginning where both of them enjoy it while with FL and her husband, it felt like she was just getting r*ped and abused.

I mean even without the fact that the crown prince killed her father and lied to her about it, he was a really really awful husband. He treated FL like a programmed robot rather than a human being with feelings and thoughts of her own. Basically whenever they were together, it's tense and FL was scared and submissive.


He's extremely paranoid and he tracked her whereabouts as well as whoever she met. He couldn't sleep with her (she didn't want to either but still) because he was so suspicious.

he was so possessive he chopped off a child's arms because that child touched her dress. He also castrated her cousin as a condition for that cousin to work for him and even with the castration he was still suspicious of their relationship and didn't want her to be too close to him

he vented his frustrations on her with s*x whenever he wanted to, didn't care about whether she wanted to or whether she would enjoy it.

He expected her to serve him and be by his side all the time. Wipe him down even when she's exhausted, help him dress, wait by his side while he's drunk and be there when he's awake to continue serving him.

He never once considered her feelings and expected her to just behave dress and live the way he wanted to. He didn't want her to ride a horse because of his image, he didn't care about her feelings in trying to protect the people around him from his abuse and had a maid whipped outside his room where she could hear it. He basically stifled and abused her to the point where she believed that it was normal for her to live however he wants and she didn't even have any thoughts of her own for her own life other than clearing her father's name.


Thankfully it was really enjoyable seeing FL with ML and their relationship development. Their interactions were steamy from start to end with lots of sweetness as ML started to realize how he felt about her.

ML didn't even care that he had feelings for her first and that she didn't feel the same way about him even though he was the one in the superior position from literally every standpoint and she was the one that started the whole thing. He waited for her, encouraged her, and supported her to think for herself and to have hope and expectations for the future and for their lives as a couple.

All in all, a very good romance novel very vivid in emotion with some political intrigue littered in to push the story along and done in a very natural and logical way. <<less
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Twingkle_82 rated it
December 31, 2022
Status: Completed
I kinda like the novel so I ended up reading an MTL version, lol.

I think the story could have been better if the author described the injustice committed by the villain in a little more detailed way so that it will emphasize how evil is the villain. Tell more about the feelings and traumatic exprience of the MC when her family was executed. When I was reading the novel, I feel that despite of what the villain had done, I did not hate him enough due to lack of emphasizing... more>> of how evil is the villain.

I also think that the suffering of the villain before death was not described enouģh so it made me feel like he died to quickly.

But despite of that, I think this is a good novel to read. <<less
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Lexandrine rated it
December 30, 2021
Status: Completed
Easily predictable but well executed. The plot is not new but its always welcome to read this kinds of stories once in a while I like how the FL is not pretentious and how she dealt with our antagonist. The ML, on the other hand, is a like an MC from another novel that had already finished his story so he was just there for support lmao. I like how this story dealt with cliche ideas and made it theirs.
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nxtlvl rated it
October 6, 2023
Status: --
I like the writing style and the translation quality is great, but ML gives serious male savior energy. He's basically a omnipotent knight in shining armor that rescues FL, our Mary Sue, from the patriarchy. Uh... we love to see it? I guess?

But no, neither of the main characters are particularly interesting - instead, I find that the antagonist, the Crown Prince, is actually the most complex and layered character. He's unreliable, ruthless, and psychotic, but he's also an unexpected underdog in a world that, by all accounts, should be... more>> in the palm of his hand. He shows some brief moments of vulnerability but is also terribly unlikeable and is 100% a sociopath, which makes the fact that he is the most interesting character in the novel all the more sad.

Also I'm a little confused here but did the translator decide to arbitrarily name the English title? The Chinese actually translates to "With Imperial Uncle." To keep the spirit of the original title but make it sound better I guess it could've been "Imperial Uncle and I." <<less
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Myaar rated it
May 21, 2023
Status: --
This was a very good read. The plot was great and also different which is a rarity in this genre.
However, I felt the plot wasn't done enough justice. The author didn't fully explore its potential. Perhaps it would have been better with a more seasoned author. Try as I might I just found it hard to sympathize with the MC. Yes, she was justified in her actions but what she went through to make those choices weren't really emphasized. In fact, I actually found myself feeling bad for the... more>> ML and her husband (the villain).
The husband because the author doesn't really emphasize the evil he has done. Rather his screen time was mostly about how attached he was with the MC (I believed he truly loved her. At least that's how it was portrayed on a surface level). So with the MC cheating etc. I kind of felt sorry for him. As for the ml, we have a man with no experience being seduced by a married woman with ulterior motives. Although he doesn't care about her being married he had to deal with her going back to a husband after their "entanglements" lol. I honestly don't think I would have cared if anything happened between them after the divorce (it wasn't even really a divorce). But the fact she was actively cheating just irked me. I also think overall, the characters behaviors didn't really match with the setting of ancient china. <<less
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