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a, an, the, to, 's, ~s, was/is, ~ed, 'll, 'm, 've, ...

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Empress Orchid :    (taken from Wikipedia)

Empress Orchid (2004) is novel by Anchee Min which is first published in Great Britain in 2004. It is written in first person and is sympathetic account of life of Empress Dowager Cixi - from her humble beginning her rise as Empress Dowager.

Name within story are different in spelling but retain same pronunciation - allowing reader identify each relevant character his or her real life counterpart.

Empress Orchid is also 2006 nominee for Richard and Judy Best Read of Year Award.

Plot summary
The novel follow life of young Manchu girl named Orchid Yehonala. The story begin with death of her father who is once governor of Wuhu. His death left Orchid, her two sibling and her mother in poverty. His family travel his birthplace Peking with his coffin for burial. Once in Peking, they move in with distant uncle and his retarded son Ping (also known as 'Bottle').

Orchid get chance better her life when Emperor Hsien Feng issue decree stating that he is looking for "future mates". Orchid is eligible because she is Manchu and that her father is rank of "Blue Bannerman". She is chosen as Imperial consort of fourth rank. Her official title is Lady of Greatest Virtue. There are total of 7 Imperial consort, and over 3000 concubine within Forbidden City. Nuharoo is pronounced Empress , ranking her first out of 7 Imperial consorts.

Once in Forbidden City, Orchid befriend eunuch called An-te-hai, who is assigned as her servant along with numerous other eunuch and maids. friendship begin form between two, and she appoint him as her first attendant.

As month pas, Orchid become more desperate. The official duty of Imperial consort is sleep with Emperor and produce male heir, but Orchid has yet be summoned. Without completing that duty, Imperial consort risk being unacknowledged for remainder of her life. Knowing thi, Orchid decide bribe Chief Eunuch Shim in order gain Emperor Hsien Feng attention. Her tactic work and she soon become Emperor favourite consort. During her time as favourite, Orchid learn more about current history of China, and inner working of Forbidden City.

Later on within story, Orchid become pregnant. She give birth Emperor first male heir Tung Chih amidst nationwide celebration. However, after birth of his son Emperor Hsien Feng begin lose interest in Orchid. Part of this is due Nuharoo plot disrupt Orchid life.

The emperor become ill as political situation in China worsen. Foreign power are beginning invade China, demanding that emperor grant them right establish trade and port. The weak emperor is unable defend his empire from combined strength of intruding force and royal family flee capital when enemy approach Peking.

Emperor Hsien Feng dies whilst in exile. Nonetheless , Orchid life is still in danger from Su Shun (a corrupt official) as Emperor has not yet named heir. Later on in novel Orchid persuade Hsien Feng name Tung Chih as new Emperor, with herself and Nuharoo as co-regents. Su Shun is named as head of Board of Regents. As Su Shun had previously expected gain more power from death of Hsien Feng without Orchid interference, tension between two increase.

Orchid is now granted title Empress of Holy Kindness Tzu Hsi. Nuharoo become Empress of Great Benevolence Tzu An. Orchid know that her new position doe not guarantee her safety as she is still restricted by action of Su Shun. With assistance of An-te-hai and Prince Kung Orchid manage success fully arrest and punish Su Shun and his associate, on ground that they had try organise coup d'état.

The novel end with official burial of Emperor Hsien Feng and hint of new relationship between Orchid and General Yung Lu.
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How'd you make out? The best way to do this exercise is to type it out quickly, correcting the mistakes 'automatically' as you go. What you're trying to do is build up your reflexes so that you type (and say) things correctly, 'automatically'.

This exercise is very useful for focusing on the tiny aspects of grammar which almost all students have continual difficulty with, namely forgetting to use 'a', 'the', 'to', etc. It also challenges your reading comprehension and vocabulary at the same time, thus making it doubling beneficial.
Either try a similar exercise with another article or try some of the other exercises with this article.

1: make corrections ( a,an,the,'s,to,was/is,...)
2: missing words  (am,is,are,was,were,do,does,...)
3: tenses

A conversation with Anchee Min
From the book: Prelude
From the book: Chapter 1

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