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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Chief’s Runaway Bride is a work of young adult romance in historical China, penned by author Bijou Li. A young woman by the name of Magnolia is unusual for her time. Looking at the war-torn world of 1942, she wishes more than anything to become a soldier, strong and independent. But her father, under the power of a Sichuan army general and a man of strict tradition, has arranged for his daughter to marry Zhaxi, a Mosuo Chief whose connections will strengthen ties between different factions. When the two meet, however, neither is keen on the other, and they are stuck in an engagement that seems, at first, to be nothing but disastrous.
The narrative that author Bijou Li creates is superbly well paced to follow the ups and downs of two wayward young people as they struggle to come to terms with the world around them and find a balance between their tempestuous personalities. The rebellious Magnolia makes an excellent heroine to the stubborn Zhaxi, and the description and culture of 1940s China only adds another layer of gorgeousness to the overall unlikely romance of the plot. The dialogue is somewhat modernized for the reader’s enjoyment, but much of the history and way of life in Chinese culture is very well explained, particularly the importance of the arranged marriage connections. Overall, The Chief’s Runaway Bride presents the ‘trapped together’ inevitable romance trope in a new and culturally lavish way, creating a really engaging story that romance fans of any age can enjoy.