To Be A Virtuous Wife

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

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

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

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

Associated Names
One entry per line
He Wei Xian Qi
何为贤妻
Related Series
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Recommendations
Eight Treasures Trousseau (23)
Chu Wang Fei (13)
Mei Gongqing (7)
Husband, Be A Gentleman (7)
Demon Wang’s Golden Favorite Fei (7)
Chongfei Manual (6)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Favorite Novel
  2. Most satisfying BG novel
  3. Historical, Palace Intrigue
  4. The Important Thing Is Enjoyment!
  5. Found and should read

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01/05/16 Dreams of Jianghu c123
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FillThisSpace
New FillThisSpace rated it
October 29, 2019
Status: Completed
I’ve just finished rereading this for the 5th time and still haven’t gotten tired of it. This is a heartwarming story and isn’t overly complex. This doesn’t have the complicated multi chapter revenge and counterattack plots most other historical novels have. The antagonists aren’t one dimensional and experience character growth (to the point that I want to read a fanfic of MC and Rui Wang so much). The main couple don’t have misunderstandings and there are no miscommunication (relationship goals, seriously).

The only thing that could be considered a negative for... more>> it is that there is a lot of terminology that is left, e.g ‘nucai’, ‘zhouli’, ‘houyuan’. After the first use of terminology, there’s no translation in the chapter so you have to go look for it in the accompanying glossary. Although, using the terminology does help to suck you into the story and the background, so not really that big a problem. <<less
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Junjaykimchi
New Junjaykimchi rated it
October 27, 2019
Status: Completed
It was a good novel, but not my cup of tea. It's quite slow-paced. And it's nothing like the summary. I was expecting a novel with a smart female lead who partakes in a lot of scheming and plays a major role in the ascension of the emperor but it's a fairly... realistic novel where the FL just sits around, gets along with the ML and occasionally goes to events to diss her sisters-in-law and deals with other women. She's involved in a lot of conversations with underlying tones instead... more>> of actual plots. I thought she'd be a lot more proactive, but she's very laid-back and though she's intelligent, she doesn't really do much throughout the novel. I do appreciate the romance and found it really interesting how the FL isn't willing to fully trust the ML, especially given the time period this takes place in. The teasing between the two is nice. The epilogues were very touching and brought a beautiful end to the entire love story. The side characters and the schemes in the ascension plot are all quite interesting, but the FL isn't really involved in any of that.

Overall, it wasn't really what I expected or what I'm used to (which is why I'm rating it 4 stars), but it was an enjoyable read. It's very calm. <<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.
... more>>
Spoiler

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

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

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

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

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

at the emperor's death scene

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. It was truly an intense scene and the events leading and following it were amazingly depicted. The concluding chapters of the novel were (to me) very much poignant and beautiful, the languidness of the imperial past, the fleetingness of life, but also the beauty of love. The writing and translations were well done and didn't diminish from the story. A very well done historical romance novel with a smart and fascinating MC. <<less
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Molenir
Molenir rated it
March 18, 2017
Status: c5
I read 5 chapters, and was completely bored. Additionally the translation was extremely poor, with many words deliberately left untranslated, leaving us trying to remember or guess what ce fei, fu, wangfei, and so many more words mean. When you need to constantly refer to footnotes to read a chapter, it becomes less entertaining, and more of a chore. I normally like stories in this genre, but the combination of slow start, and bad translation did me in.
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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 stupid. In many occasions, especially near end, he expressed how he felt FL doesn't really have him in her heart despite them being together everyday. But then, rather than despising her, he took it upon himself to work extra hard just to show FL how sincere he was with his love, and remembered in his heart what FL said "action speaks louder than words". Yeah, he might've been similar to those normal ancient guys with how they treat women at first (if some of his monologues in the first chapters was any indication) but! He still has my good favours seeing how different he is throughout the story, wanting to set up a good example of a virtuous man and a loving husband.

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

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

It's cute. It's sweet.

Moreover, the build up of events complemented the character growth, and their love, really well. The characters were well fleshed out. Their emotions delivered well, even without the need for words. The ending was really satisfying too. Overall, it's a novel really worth reading. <<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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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 intercourse scenes are heavily censored (unless the tl did that?)... more>> besides some teasing, scratching and touching it says he entered her and scene ends. Romance? There isn't any. That is actually what sucks the most. I never really felt like they have a very strong emotional bond with each other. More like they like each other, enjoy how the other person thinks and how convenient it is to be together? They never fully let themselves go, especially the female lead. Also there's no need for transmigration plot. It never really served any special purpose besides the change of personality, being cruel to family members (who may derserved that treatment) and dancing (which happens only once). Overall a pretty bad read, had higher expectations.

As for the htl, not to sh*t on it but the abundant amount of pinyin kills the joy of reading. Yes by the time you reach 25% of the story you more or less remember or have learned what everything means but it's still annoying. Translator put a lot of effort in and explained the reason he did it that way but I would have still prefered something simpler. <<less
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VLeeAzn
VLeeAzn rated it
February 5, 2019
Status: c1
I am sorry it might be a good or even very good novel but the translation... there is basically nothing translated.

I am probably the only one thinking this way among all the people that voted but honestly, I would not mind if the names were not explained or just left as they are but you can't just leave every single noun of titles/object/status untranslated.

Just imagine if you were watching a foreign movie and the subtitle is just whatever the characters are saying but untranslated, you'll have a note forming and... more>> covering on the whole screen which would be the definition of the word.

If you ever dare to read it without the footnote at the end of the page because you don't want to scroll back and forth like me you will basically read it like this :

"Pushing a thing bird and cloud thing into her hair by herself"
"Thing, since you were ill the last few days, thing told the thing so the thing wouldn't disturb your rest."

I'm just picking random passage of the first chapter to let you see what I mean. You would just not understand one bit without the footnote.

First chapter you have 36 footnotes, and the unfamiliar words would be used multiple times. Unless you know a bit of Chinese or have some understanding to it, between reading the story, looking back and forth multiple times your reading experience quickly turn into a nightmare. <<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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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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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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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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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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Alicha
Alicha rated it
April 16, 2019
Status: c1
Alright I know I’ve barely read much of this novel but honestly I can’t be bothered! Like COME ON I’m here to enjoy a good story not to have a Chinese lesson! Too much is left untranslated and to keep referring to the definition of the words in the footnote ruins the whole experience! I was so pumped going into this because of the reviews but was hugely disappointed once I was bombarded with all the words I didn’t understand! Perhaps you’ll enjoy this if you know the language but... more>> if you’re like me I don’t recommend this novel. <<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... more>> 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. <<less
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Iskandria
Iskandria rated it
March 3, 2017
Status: c123
This is an excellent light novel. With only 123 chapters it is the shortest novel I've read so far, which is also completed, naturally. Overall idea is a reincarnation of a smart female into the body of a unfortunate one. A classic. The female lead has no overpowered abilities. She simply has brains. Nice! As one might think, the chapters are on point and doesnt get lost in senseless explanations. 123 chapters, youre never getting bored or try to skip parts. A welcoming change. Story is simple, slaps are there... more>> but not as excessive as the classics. Focus lies on the characters. Sweet, nice, and understandable. MCs have sex. Nice! Villains are not purely villainous but comprehensible and with intelligent reactions and endings. Author puts emphasis on the fate of women in a similar time period as the Ancient chinese dynasties. Bittersweet, not always fulfilling, but intelligent and realistic. Do not fret, though, happy ending for MCs.

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

Overall: Read this, its good. <<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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pichu
pichu rated it
May 10, 2016
Status: --
Lack of sleep for 2 days is worth it. I enjoyed reading this story. There is no major conflict between the main characters, its more like nourishing love as time passed. Slow paced yet I can't stop reading it. Good job and thank you.
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