The Legend of the Concubine’s Daughter / Do You Know? It Ought To Be a Red Flower Amongst The Leaves (The Story of Ming Lan) 知否?知否?应是绿肥红瘦/ 庶女明兰传 by 关心则乱 Guan Xin Ze Luan (HE)


A pessimistic and negative daughter of a concubine living in the ancient times thought – since life is so difficult, why should one invest serious effort in struggling to live.

The life of an ancient noble woman is often determined and controlled by her family. In addition, one’s actions often implicates one’s entire family – thus, it is fairly common to see an unexpected calamity result in suffering borne by one’s whole family. Managing to live a good and successful life while retaining one’s dignity is simply too difficult to achieve.

Ah, living in the ancient times is simply too dangerous – we should all just sleep till we die.




[Ebook] [Audiobook] [Hồng phai xanh thắm][Eng Translation (Chapters 1-20) (Chapters 1-26) (Chapters 27-on)  ][Drama with Eng Subs]



33 Responses

  1. hamster428
    hamster428 February 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm |

    I love this novel. There’s a lot of drama but it’s offset by how idyllically it’s told. Like, they would sit around having tea parties, and though the girls throw snide remarks around, they’re still doing it over tea and calling one another jie mei lol. Minglan is also quite adorbs and hilarious. She’s full of tricks up her sleeves but she plays the fool so well. I agree wholeheartedly with the author on her male lead. He’s really the only one who knows Minglan for who she is. The others only ever knew her perfect facade. He may be an unconventional and thus unpopular choice, because he has a “history” but he’s real, and their relationship is real, and I quite ship them.

    Alliance chart: Grandma is awesome, Dad’s pretty useless, so is Big Mom and 3rd bro, Aunt Lin is a fox, 4th sis is a fox, Big sis and 2nd bro are awesome, 5th sis is frustratingly endearing, and 7th bro is adorbs. You’ll have to wade through the extended family yourself.

  2. hamster428
    hamster428 February 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm |

    Hi dramasbooksandtea! Generational Marriage isn’t going to be a breeze like this one. I feel like 知否 is much more “breathable” whereas you need to get ready for the gloomy atmosphere in GM -_- Have you read 盛世茶香? Its author is known for her long clan intrigues. I found the story there kinda cliche and long-winded, but it has a strong OTP which makes all the difference for me when it comes to romance novels.

    OMG I actually really really like the 2nd lead in 知否. He has a good heart and is so in love with her. In any other novels, their 青梅竹马 rapport would’ve been the end game. Too bad life happens. And I feel sh1tty for him, but at the same time if he has that much trouble to just marry her, then how is he going to protect her for the rest of their lives?

    I love how Grandma cares so much for Minglan even though they’re not even blood related. She cares for a son who isn’t hers and then grandchildren who aren’t hers. And what does she gets in return?! Ugh I just get stabbity whenever I think of the stupidity in that household.

    2nd bro? I love him. haha he says the darnest things with that deadpan face. And yeah, his wife is great. More alliance for Minglan! Basically anyone who doesn’t backstab Minglan is on my good list.

  3. serendipity
    serendipity February 16, 2016 at 8:36 pm |

    Definitely more breathing room in this one. this novel doesnt have a large up and down and is quite smooth sailing for the female lead.

    my fave is definitely the youngest bro!! Hes so cute and innocent and smart at the same time.

  4. serendipity
    serendipity February 16, 2016 at 8:43 pm |

    I just finished the part where the male lead and the female lead get married. I kind of want to see the 4th sister have a terrible marriage, just cause shes so dang annoying.

    Im shipping female and male lead. Esp when the male lead gets upset that the female lead doesnt get jealous about his child from another woman.

  5. 11thagent
    11thagent February 18, 2016 at 7:59 pm |

    I’m on 60 out of 405 of the audiobook, when my question is, when is the male lead going to appear???
    Basing on the previous comments, I’m already striking off the two other guys that appeared.

  6. 11thagent
    11thagent February 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm |


    The male lead has finally appeared, and yeah, he is rather unconventional. I had my guesses when there were rumors about him earlier, but I had REALLY hoped it wasn’t him. Eh, who knows, maybe my impressions of him will be better later on.

    Your comment about her family really makes me worried, because right now, I don’t really hate her father. At this point, he isn’t that bad, compared to many other ancient fathers I read about before. He seems reasonable, and after his first mistake of over spoiling his mistress, it appeared that he learned from his mistake. But you guys keep mentioning how Minglan’s father is frustrating, so now I’m worried.

    My biggest concern right now, is that I will hopefully come to like the male lead, because right now, he’s not doing so great. I’ve had great books ruined for me because I didn’t like the male lead, and I really don’t want the hours I spent listening to this be wasted.

  7. hamster428
    hamster428 February 19, 2016 at 10:44 pm |

    @dramasbooksandtea: no worries, I have the attention span of a goldfish and I skim to make it through some of these books. “Oooh OTP spazziness… blah blah blah… OTP! why u so petfect?! … blah blah blah… oooh butterfly…”

    @11thagent: unlike dramasbooksandtea, my fury was directed at other more infuriating ppl so her father was safe from my wrath. How I wanted to stab a certain aunt!
    I like the male lead and his interactions with Minglan. They just have sparks! My fav has to be when

    Spoiler Inside SelectShow
  8. 11thagent
    11thagent February 25, 2016 at 9:37 am |


    Yes, the father’s treatment of some of his family members were calculated, but there was one thing that he had, and that was his love for his children. Yes, he want personal gain from those marriages, but he wasn’t about to marry off his kids to people who had a messy family or terrible personality. His upmost concern was whether or not they would suffer from the marriage. I’m not saying some of them didn’t, the oldest daughter suffered a bit, but in the end she was happy. The only time the personal gain outweighed his love was when the male lead came knocking on his door. However, even then, he checked the male lead out first to see if he was still that rebellious playboy. I truly believed that if the male lead showed signs of being unsuitable, no matter how much personal gain the father would have reaped from the marriage, he would have refuse.

    In general, compared to many other fathers I read, he is (sadly) one of the better ones. Both as an ambitious government official as well as a father.

  9. 11thagent
    11thagent February 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm |


    Yep I finished it XD, and he did grew on me.

    Yeah, his love is limited, but that’s largely due to her being raised by Grandma’s side the entire time and that her mother was no longer there to help build that relationship. I still think that if the male lead had continued his questionable ways, the father would definitely reject the proposal.

    I found his treatment of Grandma too much, but at the same time it’s realistic. It’s not like he didn’t feel bad or wasn’t moved when Mi Lan said that Grandma raised and paved his road for him. Not everyone feels real love for those who raised them, even if they are their actual parents. I suppose he is on one side of the ongoing theme in this novel: “is blood relation the most important thing in a family?”.

    Eldest brother was with Mi Lan in believing otherwise (even if he convinced his father through different reasoning). The main lead’s eldest daughter chooses to side with Mi Lan over her actual mother and shows love for her half-brother. Other family members love and pretty much worship Grandma.

    At least the father wasn’t like the father in Chu Wang Fei. Now that one has similarities to this father, with how he loves his concubine and the main character’s mom was killed by the concubine. In Chu Wang Fei, that father knew all the bad things his concubine did, and pretty much turned a blind eye to it all. In this novel, the father was really pissed, and was seriously preparing to punish the concubine forever. If it wasn’t for her convincing him that she had no intention to kill Mi Lan’s mother and that the legal wife had a hand in it, she would have never been favored again.

  10. sage
    sage February 26, 2016 at 7:08 am |

    Can someone post a detail or brief character guide ? It sounds interesting and I hope someone would translate it as I can’t read or understand it.

  11. JL
    JL March 14, 2016 at 12:43 am |

    I rather like Princess weiYang and chu wang fei. Listen to the audiobook until chapter 113 then skip through the rest.

  12. saiamaru
    saiamaru April 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm |

    I know this might be a bit late to ask, but can anyone explain to me what is the ‘messy past’ of the male lead? My Chinese is horrible, and I have been reading with gg trans. TT_TT. It just keeps giving hints here and there, I’m so confusedddddddddddddd.

  13. JL
    JL April 14, 2016 at 4:09 am |

    Managed to finish listening to the audiobook. I agreed with 11thagent that the ML grew on me.


    Spoiler Inside SelectShow
  14. saiamaru
    saiamaru April 14, 2016 at 11:34 am |

    @JL thanks a lot for the answer! My understanding is not so far off. lol. Despite the fact that I really don’t like his past, I kinda like the ML. Hope that he will continue to grow on me too.

  15. exupery10
    exupery10 April 21, 2016 at 2:35 am |

    I really really enjoyed this book and the characters so much that I was reluctant for it to end. LOL. Does anyone have any similar recommendations?

    Other than the first wife (and her side of the family especially nasty Kang Yima), Lin Yiniang and Mo Lan … the rest of the family are not that bad and some of them are pretty awesome and lovable. LOL … Love love the grandmother and her relationship with Ming Lan. So heartwarming. The grandmother is really such an awesome lady.

    Personally I felt that no matter who Ming Lan ended up with … she would still have made the best of things and overcome whatever obstacles that come her way and end up having her spouse/in laws cherish her in the end although she probably would have to do a lot of pretending and continue to tip toe around in her life. Fortunately she ended up with a guy who because of his background and experience in life is able to give her the status/freedom to deal with a lot of nuisance in their life after marriage and be herself.

  16. superkumaa
    superkumaa September 23, 2016 at 9:53 am |

    I enjoy reading this novel till the last chapter, the geges in the novel are very loveable, I jumped onto the wrong ship at first lol, who can resist such a cute and sincere boy, but when the ML revealed I’m not that disappointed, since I can see how much effort the ML poured to get her haha, and their relationship after marriage only get stronger and stronger
    Of course I love the most the cute relationship between Minglan and Grandma
    @exupery10 no you’re not the only one, I don’t want it to end lol

  17. dreambeyondclouds
    dreambeyondclouds November 14, 2016 at 5:37 am |

    I’ve been browsing this site and can’t help commenting on this book. This was one of my first c-novels ever and I can’t say I’ve ever found one that captivated me as much. The audio book is just over 400 episodes and it had me engaged the whole time.

    Thanks for posting it (and making me go back and re-listen to the whole thing again 😛 )

  18. DOH
    DOH December 4, 2016 at 12:36 am |

    Can someone tell me the ML’s name in a spoiler, pretty please? >.<

  19. bluew
    bluew December 10, 2016 at 11:31 pm |

    one question about the male lead….he has 2 kids right? ….are both of them alive?…who was raising them when he was gone? ….also do his kids like the mc ?

  20. Eis
    Eis December 14, 2016 at 9:19 pm |

    Wow, what will happen to the son in the end? Will they just let him stay with the mistress till the end of the story? And the mistress? She seems evil, what will happen to her?

  21. bluew
    bluew December 15, 2016 at 9:34 am |

    What is the relationship between the MC and the hubbies family?….like step mom,
    aunts, ucles ,cousins etc?

  22. henohito
    henohito February 10, 2017 at 4:19 pm |

    What kind of status does the male lead have?
    Is he from a merchant family?

    I’m listening to the drama now, it seems all the Shu born daughters wont marry as well as the Di daughters…

  23. Maymay
    Maymay March 25, 2017 at 9:15 am |

    Hi. Been reading recommended books from this site which has been really helpful. Wanted to make recommendations of my own but not sure how to do it since it seems like a private blog. Anyhow, if anyone wants more of slice of life clan plotting like this one, can consider 何为贤妻。 it is almost like ming lan from 知否。。。but without the childhood segment. What’s nice is it’s rather short 100+ chapters and has an unbelievably happy ending

  24. Tang Phong Soon
    Tang Phong Soon June 26, 2017 at 4:54 am |

    Well, just in… fresh from Princess Agent C-Drama, Zanilia Zhou will star as Minglan in C-Drama for 2018 release.

  25. humbledaisy1
    humbledaisy1 August 14, 2020 at 2:22 pm |

    I’m re-reading this again but – is this the only novel the author has written? Or are there others under another pen name?

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