This vaguely historical novel is a guilty pleasure. You’ll enjoy the exotic location and characters, but it’s not a realistic portrayal of Shanghai in the years of the Republic. There is no real emotion here; the characters are unreal, the situations melodramatic, the details lurid and contrived. It doesn’t matter. This is a large, luscious box of chocolates. There’s always tomorrow to diet and read more accurate books. Go on. You know you want to.