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 they 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.

Associated Names
One entry per line
He Wei Xian Qi
Thế nào là hiền thê
ชายาผู้มีคุณธรรม
何为贤妻
Related Series
N/A
Recommendations
Eight Treasures Trousseau (30)
Chu Wang Fei (14)
Husband, Be A Gentleman (12)
Chongfei Manual (9)
Demon Wang’s Golden Favorite Fei (8)
Mei Gongqing (7)
Recommendation Lists
  1. The few BG i read
  2. hail the queen
  3. novels that i forgot about/yet to start
  4. Novels Worth The Time
  5. Completed CN Romance Novels (BG), Rated 3.5+

Latest Release

Date Group Release
01/05/16 Dreams of Jianghu c123 (end)
01/04/16 Dreams of Jianghu c122
01/03/16 Dreams of Jianghu c121
01/02/16 Dreams of Jianghu c120
01/01/16 Dreams of Jianghu c119
12/31/15 Dreams of Jianghu c118
12/30/15 Dreams of Jianghu c117
12/29/15 Dreams of Jianghu c116
12/28/15 Dreams of Jianghu c115
12/27/15 Dreams of Jianghu c114
12/26/15 Dreams of Jianghu c113
12/25/15 Dreams of Jianghu c112
12/24/15 Dreams of Jianghu c111
12/23/15 Dreams of Jianghu c110
12/22/15 Dreams of Jianghu c109
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327 Reviews sorted by


amazingrace
New amazingrace rated it
January 20, 2023
Status: Completed
I've put off reading this multiple times because I thought it wasn't that interesting and I couldn't be more wrong. I love how the author wrote the dynamics of the relationship between FL and ML. Watching them interact, fall in love, and form a companionship together puts a smile on my face.

But aside from the main couple, I am also in awe at how the author created the personas of the other character. One character that I didn't expect to have an impact in my heart was He Yuan. I... more>> can't exactly tell if I love his character or not, whether I feel sad for him or not,
Spoiler

but just reading the chapter and passages about him and his unrequited love for the QQJ, I feel a sense of melancholy. I just can't help but sigh whenever I think of him. Such complexity of his character made him have such a huge impact on me. I just hope in his next life he will also be able to find someone that he will love wholeheartedly and love him back just as He Heng found Qu Qing Ju.

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Kudos to the author! I really enjoyed reading this one. I'm also going to try reading the author's other works and I hope I won't be dissatisfied. <<less
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shinichilove
New shinichilove
January 19, 2023
Status: Completed
This is probably one of the best historical romance novel I've read so far. I love both MC and ML in this story, they were consistent from start to finish. MC is a very pragmatic and practical person. She is a person who makes sure to give back what was given to them, whether it's kindness or cruelty. She is very good to herself and those loyal to her. While ML may be cunning considering he grew up in the imperial palace, he is also honest and from start to... more>> finish he always made sure to show his sincere feelings for our MC. Their romance is quite subtle and this time it's MC who shows their feelings through actions not words, in the relationship instead of the other way around 😅.

Spoiler

From start to finish FL never said "I love you" to ML which bothered him at first but as they lived their lives he understood her "love language" that FL showed her love for him more through her actions and how she behaved towards him. I felt sorry for ML at first because he felt insecure as she never explicitly responded to his words but when she said that he doesn't need to worry because they have their whole lives to prove and show their love to each other I was so happy for them, though I'm not sure if he remembers that since he was drunk at the time😅

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I definitely recommend this 100%, it's a short and very enjoyable read. <<less
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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 to endure... more>> 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 bullshit” 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.
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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NatsuK
NatsuK rated it
February 10, 2019
Status: c1
I thought I should check this since I've seen great reviews and recommendations from other people in the comment/review section in other novels (for ex. In Rebirth of the Malicious Empress) but after reading 2 paragraphs of the first chapter, I gave up. The translator/s did a bad job translating this novel. It's like it wasn't translated at all.

1. There were so many nontranslated words that they have to add a LONG footnote at the end of the chapter and they repeat in every paragraph that I had to scroll... more>> up and down just to connect them to the context of what I was reading.

2. The translation on the footnote were so vague and unnecessary LONG. They were trying too hard to the point that they missed the point of what they're supposed to be doing. It felt like they translated this novel just to show off how good they are in Chinese language. That was so annoying.

3. The translations at the footnote are completely different from what was on their "glossary." Talk about consistency. I've read other novels which didn't complicate the translations like for ex. In one novel that I read, they'd translate it to Old Mama instead of writing Pozi every single time. I feel like Google would have done a better job. That word wasn't even important at all. They could have just added a trivia at the footnote ONCE to explain how it's said in that language. JUST ONCE. They don't have to shove it under our nose in every single paragraph. I'm highly disappointed and I lost interest in reading this which is such a shame since the summary seems interesting.

Am I sorry to leave such a harsh review? Not even one bit. I can go to hell (or wherever) for all I care. <<less
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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.
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. <<less
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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 turned... more>> 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 s*upid. 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. <<less
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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 shit) 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 interc**rse 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. <<less
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sandy0097
sandy0097 rated it
December 10, 2017
Status: Completed
Its was an OK novel... its just that I never actually felt any love between the MC and ML. There is no detailed description of the story, I felt the only thing the MC did was dress up beautifully and eat??!!.. she wasn't all that extraordinary and smart. Lots of details are not described.... as I said it was almost like a long summary than a novel... you don't get to feel the characters pain and happiness. I gave it a 1 star because I had great expectations after reading... more>> many good reviews.. but was greatly disappointed, this novel is not for mature readers, its a good read for teenagers and people who don't want any strong drama or politics. <<less
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Mavsynchroid
Mavsynchroid rated it
April 25, 2018
Status: Completed
An extremely well written and translated novel. This is NOT one of those female MC novels where the MC is some super assassin or genius doctor who goes around amazing everyone at every point by accomplishing the impossible. It is what I'd have to call a "realistic" time travel reincarnation novel.

It's about a normal modern day woman who ends up in the body of a weak willed girl who's just been married to what is pretty much a prince. I know, sounds generic, but it isn't. There' no... more>> cultivation in this novel. Nothing supernatural at all besides the fact that she time traveled into this body.

This is more about a fight for the throne between princes, and even more so how the MC decides to live her life in this ancient era. There is definitely no instant love connection between the MC and ML. They both play their parts in the marriage while keeping their true thoughts to themselves.

It's hard to describe anymore without spoiling things, so I'll just reiterate that this is NOT one of those female MC novels where every "chapter" is really a page and a half long and the MC cultivates to grow stronger and pills, refiing, pets or men living in her body's secret space, yaddah yadaah yaddah. None of that silliness. It's a mature novel for mature readers. It's as realistic as a time traveling novel could be.

The only gripes I have with this novel are two things. First, the translator decided to leave WAY too many words untranslated, like fei, wei ye, ce fei, etc etc. When I say way too many... let's put it this way.. the first chapter had 36 foot notes, each when for translating a word, like Ce Fei means secondary wife. 36 of them!! Even things like courtyard, concubine, first wife, and eunuch were all left untranslated. In my opinion, this is extremely overboard. It got to the point where sometimes I didn't know what status a person had, and had to rely on remembering their names alone. That would have been easy enough except the characters also had multiple names!! The main lead was known both as He Heng, his real name, and Duan Huan, I think? Not to mention other names like er sao, or er sadi.. or something like that.. whatever brothers call each other... the translator should have just written Second Brother, or Third Brother. It was needless confusion in a fruitless attempt to make the story seem more authentic.... 36 terms to remember in the first chapter alone!!

My second gripe is a small one. I'm just always annoyed in these time traveler/ reincarnation stories where the MC NEVER ends up telling their loved ones the truth. That they come from a different time. They NEVER use information from the modern era to do anything. It always makes me wonder.. why do they bother making the MC a soul from modern times. Why can't it just be someone who doesn't take crap from anyone, without soul swapping? I get the whole going from a weak timid useless person to a strong one transformation, but why make it supernatural when it'll never again have any bearing on the story? Just feels like a useless trope they always add.

Anyway, loved the story. If you like strong female MCs and mature romance, give this a shot. It's completely translated too! <<less
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wolflord1307
wolflord1307 rated it
July 1, 2018
Status: Completed
Let me start off by saying that I'm writing a review because I saw a couple of reviews that were less than 5 stars because they thought that the love between the main leads were lacking or that the untranslated words were annoying or that the plot was bland. And I just wanted to talk a bit about that.

The untranslated words may be annoying to some people but as a Chinese myself, I feel that by using pinyin for words such as ce fei and wang fei really kept the... more>> translation authentic. Because ancient china was extremely strict about hierarchy and the different titles are extremely important in showing ones status. And there is no exact English translation for all the titles because there isn't exactly a need for it. If the translator tried to change it, it would have become difficult to understand because direct translations would be too flowery but anything else than that wouldn't convey the true meaning. That's why I think that this translation style is actually extremely suitable because it maintains the original meaning.

Secondly, about the love between the main leads. Yes I do agree that the love between them doesn't seem obvious and I did find myself questioning if she truly loved him. But I think that in the context of this novel, with the pragmatic character of both leads, this is the kind of interaction you would find. Because he is an ancient era man, true love doesn't really exist for them. He is willing to have only her for the rest of his life but is his love undying and eternal? Doubtful. As for the female lead, she is realistic and pretty much decides to accept her fate and enjoy life as she pleases. She knows that it is impossible for his heart to belong to her only and if it was between the country or her, he might not choose her. Thankfully our male lead didn't have to make that decisions. She doesn't appear to love him and I think she doesn't, not completely, as far as the parts we read concern. In any case, the time frame of the story is a few years at the most and who can really fall in love so deeply without having being through trials and years of interaction. I think that the portrayal of their interaction is extremely realistic.

The plot is bland. Alright it kinda is. But seriously, how much drama did you think the ancient era would have? It's slice of life and it did it perfectly.

Overall, this novel is extremely realistic and interesting to read. The translation is great and extremely good and I definitely recommend reading it! <<less
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Mizura
Mizura rated it
November 15, 2017
Status: c123
Like others, I was put off by the summary at first. But I'm glad I read this.

This story is about the perfect wife. Except, the perfect wife in this story isn't an innocent lily waiting to be bullied, nor an obedient vase on display, nor even a hard-to-get cold beauty. The perfect wife in this story is a real woman. And whereas most stories try to make you go, 'man I wish there was a person who'd treat me as well as the love interest treats the MC', this story... more>> makes you feel, 'I wish I'll be able to treat my partner as well as Qing Ju treats her husband.'

Our MC has no delusions that the ML would love only her his entire life without her doing anything, nor that if you're nice to everyone, you won't get backstabbed in return. At first she might even seem a little cold because she doesn't easily believe her husband's sweet promises. But in the end, actions speak louder than words. To sum it up, she takes care of herself. She takes care of her husband. And she does both damn well.

She's a woman with needs and will be seductive to get it. She likes to make herself gorgeous and maintains her hobbies, but won't be excessive to the point of causing harm to others. She's not happy to share her man and will work to keep him interested. She won't show mercy to those who would harm her, but is also extremely generous to those who do her right. She won't meddle in the things she's not supposed to, but is keenly aware of everything needed. She will talk back to people trying to make her lose face, but act virtuous otherwise, and even act innocent and ignorant in front of her mother-in-law which, in a weird twist of reverse psychology, gains her her mother-in-law's affectionate protection instead.

What the husband gains is a wife who is gorgeous and interesting, who makes him feel wanted and a winner as a man and as a provider, who keeps his household harmonious with an iron fist, who manages external relations, who gives him face and will never make him lose face, who won't question the shady things you are doing but will silently but firmly support you in your ambitions and believe in you, who will maintain good relations with your mother, who will take care of you when you're sick or injured, who can be ruthless but who also cares for the common people. Certainly, she may seem a bit cold at first, because the one thing she Doesn't do is reciprocate your professions of love, but when she has done all that, and proven how much you mean to her through actions, and you have done the same for her, are mere words needed? <<less
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Matpatpat
Matpatpat rated it
February 6, 2019
Status: Completed
Bland Bland Bland. The FL never did anything of note nor did she face any hardship that justified the praise lauded on her. She sat around eating and looking pretty. She said some b*tchy one-liners here and there and that managed to seduce ML into being completely monogamous and obsessively in love... ok. For a transmigration story, there was no actually elements of the genre incorporated besides some holier-than-thou modern woman sensibilities occasionally talking down to the other women.

ML was generically handsome and bland. Nothing really went on with him... more>> besides a plot to take the throne from his shitty spoiled half-brother. That storyline was all-in-all won by a bit of coincidence and plot contrivance than any actual hard work.

Flabbergasted by the high rating. I guess if you wanted a straightforward female power fantasy where the main girl sits around looking pretty, eating, wins easy fights, and picks low hanging fruit then... yeah? I mean she gets the title of empress and is in a magical monogamous relationship. <<less
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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 of... more>> 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. <<less
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Kurobito
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 term... more>> 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. :/ <<less
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Leesonghwa
Leesonghwa rated it
June 7, 2022
Status: --
This is like a downgraded version of The Job of an Imperial Concubine, which in my opinion, is much better.

... more>>
Spoiler

I do know it’s slice of life, etc, and it’s supposed to be realistic in the sense that the female lead doesn’t really, truly love him. Even if it’s slice of life, the plot is bland and boring, with not a lot of romance.

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As someone who has learned Chinese for years, I personally don’t like how the translator chooses to keep pinyin over some terms, such as ‘aunt’, ‘uncle’, etc. It’s not as bad for me, since I know Chinese, but it’s very inconvenient for people who don’t. I’m fine with the translator keeping titles in pinyin, but keeping pinyin for a simple word such as ‘aunt’ isn’t needed. The footnotes are very confusing as well, My friend prefers to read all the knowledge at the end of the chapter, but as the terms are in Chinese characters instead of pinyin, that just makes in unnecessarily complicated. <<less
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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 sound a... more>> 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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veritere
veritere rated it
September 2, 2020
Status: c71
Honestly, I was disappointed by this story and gave up about midway. This is going to be a rant, fair warning!

I found the main character, Qu Qing Ju, terribly unlikable. The fact that she's a transmigrator appears to have no effect on the story apart from some vague references to her previously having been a manager at an entertainment business. She seems to have no emotions about her previous life. Initially, she deals with harem politics by harshly asserting her authority (fair enough, given the culture of the time). And... more>> then... she does nothing. She's frequently described as lazy and she most certainly is! She appears to spend her time on eating and on picking out beautiful clothes, and that's the extent of her character. She never takes any initiative whatsoever - even when she identifies the embezzlement of her household funds and puts an end to it, she appears to do nothing useful with the money and it's never mentioned again. The extent of her interest in the common people is an offhand line about how they suffer; not so much as a donation to charitable works, nothing actually done about it. She has no strong principles, no interest in learning anything, no ambitions, no real friends; nothing about her makes her interesting.

She does nothing to support her husband in strategy or any of his work, and doesn't seem to really love him - again, fair enough, it could have been an interesting source of conflict - but it has no effect on his feelings. And of course she's incredibly beautiful and never gains weight despite no exercise whatsoever (she's never mentioned actually dancing since she transmigrated). Anyone opposing her is obviously awful (and usually very s*upid). There's no real compassion in her, either - her younger half-sister's prospects
Spoiler

are essentially ruined since QQJ feuded with her stepmother, and she never so much as offers her a warning about the third prince who takes her on as a concubine, leaving her to a life of misery and abuse.

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And the girl's fifteen! This gives QQJ not a moment's pause. And she's depicted as always, always right. Never does she make a mistake. What a Mary Sue!

Her husband is so perfect as to render him utterly dull in himself. He falls for her immediately (without having had the bad taste to care for the original person before the transmigration), is frequently shown as going out of his way to show his support for her, never spends a night with any other woman since the day he sees her, and doesn't get into the jockeying for power that his brothers do. There's no conflict in QQJ's relationship with him, no sign they grow as people or learn anything at all from each other. There's a mildly interesting plot going on in the background about the Emperor and his upcoming choice of successor, but it's made very clear that the male lead is the only option to root for and the others are obviously going to fail, without any attributes that might make them good leaders.

I realise this is a slice-of-life novel, but those ride or die on their characters, and this novel just couldn't hold up for me in that aspect. Give me something beyond "lazy with a sharp tongue" and "perfect guy in love with her" and that would help!

The translation initially frustrated me with the amount of pinyin, (the first couple of chapters were almost indecipherable tbh) but I got used to it quickly and even learned something. The translators clearly care about their work and maintain a pretty high standard, so kudos to them! <<less
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karwasama
karwasama rated it
July 21, 2019
Status: c123
All in all, I can sum this up as a pretty good read. Was it groundbreaking, unforgettable, or unique? Not particularly - but it was still enjoyable. It's a great novel for when you're bored and just want to pass the time, but not if you're looking for something to completely change your worldview.

Plot Summary: A modern woman transmigrates into the overly kind and meek Qu Qing Ju, who is also the wife of a prince. To prevent a future of mistreatment and bullying, Qu Qing Ju establishes her position... more>> as the main wife by punishing those who mistreat her and putting those beneath her in their place. Intrigued by the change of her personality, her husband He Heng slowly begins to fall in love with her, and together this power couple join the fight for the throne.

What I liked about the novel:

Translation quality was excellent.

Not much to explain here. It was good, the grammar mistakes were minimal, and the translator deserves a shout out for their hard work!!!

Qu Qing Ju is smart and does not allow her emotions to dictate her actions, but she isn't a jerk about it.

Okay, I always love me a strong female character who makes the best of her situation, and Qu Qing Ju did exactly that. She was smart in her scheming and all of her decisions were ultimately helpful in the future. However, she doesn't go out of her way to bully those who don't directly wrong her, and her punishments aren't horribly cruel either. She is like the perfect medium - just mean enough so that others can't walk all over her, but nice enough that she has actually friends/people who like her personality.

Also, she's very rational and levelheaded. I particularly liked this aspect of her when
Spoiler

the novel explained how she was hesitant to actually fall in love with He Heng. It was a smart move on her part, especially since she knows that her livelihood is dependent on a man's love, and in this sort of situation whoever loves the other most is in the disadvantageous position. It takes her a long time to return his affections, which I think is realistic of any woman transmigrating into the ancient times.

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The romance was healthy and adorable.

Seriously, the love He Heng has for Qu Qing Ju is just so gosh darn cute. He doesn't sleep with another woman after she transmigrates, and always is putting her first by never intentionally putting her in an uncomfortable situation. A first for me was the genuine respect he had for her, like how he listened to her advice and stories and how he actually entrusts her to be able to stand on her own. It's hilarious how their feelings for each other are so romantic and loving that it nauseates several of the other married couples around them.

What I didn't like about the novel:

I find the change in attitude from He Heng slightly unrealistic.

It was sort of weird how the moment Qu Qing Ju transmigrated He Heng immediately stopped favoring the other concubines and only spent time with her. Like I get it was probably intriguing for him to watch his meek wife turn into a confident young lady, but I think it's unrealistic for such interest to immediately turn into him looking out for her and treating her well. I mean of course I know this is a fictional novel and it's not unheard of for this development to occur, but I'm just throwing it out there as a personal dislike of mine.

The face-slapping/revenge was sort of predictable and weak.

It's been a hot minute since I've read this novel, but what I do remember is that Qu Qing Ju solved almost every problem through her status. Like, people were either like 'oh no we can't offend the wang-fei and insult the royal family!' or He Heng would show up and then they'd be like 'oh no we can't offend the wang-ye and insult the royal family!'. It was satisfactory the first time around but I slowly got a little sick of it as the novel went on.

The original Crown Prince
Spoiler

falling in love with Qu Qing Ju was unnecessary and weird.

I mean I guess there were always hints that he found her attractive and lusted after her, but I don't think it was to the point where after she becomes Empress and he remarries, he would still "love" her. For me it doesn't make sense for his obsession to be that deep and for him to keep painting pictures of her, especially because he really didn't know her. They talked like for five seconds only a couple of times throughout the novel. How is this enough time for such feelings to take root? And this definitely doesn't redeem him either. He was a sh*t character and his treatment of women was horrible - none of this goes away because he "loves" Qu Qing Ku.

Seriously, when I read the epilogue I was honestly shocked by this development. It was so unexpected, and in my opinion, not in a good way.

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This novel was a bit hard to read.

I know earlier I said the translation quality was excellent, and it was! However the translator decided to use the Chinese phonetic honorifics/titles instead of their English counter parts, so for a newbie reader who doesn't understand Chinese, it was difficult to adjust. They had footnotes, but it was still sort of disorienting to have to jump around on the web page from the actual novel and the glossary. Also there was no sort of 'next chapter' link, so every time I finished a chapter I would have to go to the Table of Contents and then manually find the next chapter.

All in all, it was decent, fun novel. I didn't love all of it and it had its flaws, but it was still interesting and worth your time. I give it a 3.5/5 stars. <<less
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Xye86
Xye86 rated it
December 9, 2017
Status: c123
Just done reading this novel and I can say that this is really Gem...a treasure novel. Real Fairy Tale in a more realistic plot.

Been doubting reading this novel at first. I, myself, doesn't like male MC behave as a Lothario but the Male MC here proves me wrong... He is hopelessly devoted to the female MC. I bow to this faithfulness.

I love the tenacity and coolness of the female MC. Wish I could be like that.

Overall this web novel is something I would love to keep and re-read it again... more>> sometime soon.

I intensely Recommend this to readers who loves a realistic Fairy Tale (with some twist). <<less
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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 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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