What a beautiful book! Think of the writing style of Anita Diamant if you want a comparison.
I knew nothing about Empress Wu when I began reading, but I was so captivated by Sa's writing that I forgot I was reading about a major historical figure! It did take me several pages to get over the fact there is a spelling mistake on page 9, "..for others, who were already loosing
their minds.." this is actually my biggest pet peeve in the English language when people spell lose as "loose" - but never mind this, sorry it's just my hang-up, but then again, this is also my review. :) The rest of the book is written with gorgeous detail, even the naughty and/or violent scenes. I have not read Shan Sa's other books, but if they are as good as this, she could very well be one of my favourite authors.