- Title: New Life Begins
- Also Known As: 青川日常, Qing Chuan Daily Life, Qing Chuan Ri Chang
- Director: Zhao Qi Chen
- Casts: Bai Jing Ting, Tian Xi Wei
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Historical
- Country: China
- Episodes: 40
- Year: 2022
- Original Network: iQiyi
- Where To Watch: iQiyi, MZTV
- Rating: 8,3/10
- Adapted from the web novel Qing Chuan Ri Chang by Duo Mu Mu Duo.
New Life Begins Synopsis
Li Wei was a cheerful girl, born and raised in a common family in Jichuan. She was bad at learning and her etiquette was so-so. Li Wei’s only passion was food, but she was also a terrible cook. However, Li Wei had a strong point. She was an optimist and righteous girl who believed in gender equality and monogamy as it was the value of her hometown.
Every three years, girls from 8 provinces would be sent to Xinchuan as tribute girls. They would join a wives selection for the princes of Xinchuan. And this time, Li Wei was chosen to be one of them. With the support of her parents and younger brother, Li Wei went to Xinchuan with one intention: to fail the selection and return home to Jichuan.
Li Wei and Yin Zheng’s relationship kicked off with a strange meeting in the kitchen. Li Wei was caught stealing food and Yin Zheng’s stomachache relapsed in front of her. However, she left a deep impression on Yin Zheng. Although he was weak because of the ailment, Yin Zheng did not want to rely on his wife and Li Wei was a good choice for him. Therefore, Yin Zheng asked his father, the Lord of Xinchuan, to bestow Li Wei as the concubine of Yin Zheng because her family was too weak to be the legal wife of a prince.
The marriage with Yin Zheng was something that Li Wei never dreamed of. As a girl from Jichuan who believed in monogamy, concubinage was never in her dictionary. Li Wei still dreamed of marrying someone who only loved her and was loved by her. And Yin Zheng obviously did not have any feelings for her. However, love finally blossomed between them. But then, the Lord of Jichuan wanted Yin Zheng to marry the Princess of Jichuan, Yuan Ying as his legal wife.
Could Li Wei, the girl who valued monogamy and gender equality accept her fate as a concubine and shared her husband with somebody who obviously waaayy much better than her? Would her relationship with Yin Zheng improved and lead the to a happily ever after ending?
New Life Begins Review
I fall in love with this drama at the first sight. The drama opening was just like a perfect appetizer before a good meal. The music, the visual… once you saw it, you would understand what I meant. But that was not the only thing that I admired about New Life Begins drama.
Stunning Sets and Wordrobes
I was amazed by the sets and the clothes. The sets were very detailed and everything was perfectly arranged. The court hall was not as grand as in The Rebel Princess drama, but more like a small intimate meeting room where the boss did not stand far away from the subordinates.
But the house was another thing to be praised. I loved how they arranged the furniture and all the small trinkets. Li Wei had a desk calendar in her study room. I have no idea whether ancient China already invented the calendar or it was a made-up thing for this drama. But it was the first time I saw a calendar in a historical drama.
I’ve seen dramas with more intricate costumes such as Ruyi’s Royal Love in The Palace drama or Royal Feast drama. New Life Begins’ costumes were far from them, but their costumes were well-designed and they use pretty colors. I was crazy about their hairpins. They were stunning! 😻
The actors’ makeups were somehow a bit too much. But I really admired the way they changed Hao Jia the concubine into Hao Jia the stall owner. Sometimes in the Cdramaland, the makeup could not disguise a woman into a man or vice versa. For example in Eternal Love drama or Novoland: Pearl Eclipse drama. In both dramas, Yang Mi pretended to be a male character. But still, you would recognize her in an instant.
In New Life Begins, Hao Jia’s makeup was on another level. I have to recheck and stop the drama only to take a closer look at her. The male version of Hao Jia was completely different from Hao Jia the concubine. I have no idea what they did to her, but I have to give them two thumbs up for the makeup department!!!👍
Mister Director, you did a great job on this drama!
New Life Begins was not just about the romance between Li Wei and Yin Zheng. It was more than that. The story was quite strong and the characters were well-written. The comedy was good enough that you would laugh out loud in several scenes. However, in my opinion, the story flow was a bit too slow that I got bored after 16 episodes.
The idea of this drama was quite modern, about sisterhood, gender equality, and women empowerment. New Life Begins also talked about some modern problems such as body image and postpartum depression.
There was a scene when Yin An had to choose only four girls from his 16 concubines before he entered the palace. He use a method to measure the body that used to be trending in China, the Collarbone Challenge, the A4 Waist Challenge, and the Belly Button Challenge. You should Google these controversial challenges. Yin An also told his wives to follow a strict diet and made his legal wife, Dong Hai Tang fainted because of it.
Hao Jia’s relationship with her husband, Yin Song was another example of a toxic relationship. Yin Song always ordered her to do things against her will. Such as he ordered her to stay away from Li Wei because he thought that Li Wei was a bad influence on her. He also forbade her to eat as a punishment after she made a mistake. It was not surprising that with a bad support system, Hao Jia would suffer from postpartum depression after she gave birth to a cute baby girl.
Back then Yin Song hated her and his daughter because he expected their child to be a son. But fortunately, Hao Jia had her friend that gave her support through the lowest point of her life. She came back stronger after she divorced her husband and took her baby away from him. Hao Jia found happiness in her cosmetic business.
It was a good thing to see that the girls were bonded and helped one another instead of plotting against each other. It was such a fresh breeze for me after I spent some of my time watching old historical drama that was full of fights and schemes inside the imperial harem. There were not many Cdrama about sisterhood. And only a few made me impressed. One of them was Delicious Romance. (I’ve written the review about this drama, you might want to check it out). And now I would put New Life Begins as one of the best dramas that talked about sisterhood.
Slow Pace on the Love Story
The romance was a bit slow. Yin Zheng only realized his feelings for Li Wei when they went to Dachuan. He started to think about love and their relationship after they met several matrilocal husbands who were devoted to their wives. When Yin Zheng saw Li Wei wanted to watch a show but could not see it because she was too short, he took her in his arms. So she could see the stage clearly. Both of them blushed because of the intimate interaction.
Li Wei was much slower than Yin Zheng when talking about feelings. She started to question her feelings for Yin Zheng after he kissed her. Back then Yin Zheng was drunk and could not remember the kiss, but Li Wei was distracted by it for quite some time. When their love started to bloom, Yin Zheng had to marry another woman.
When it came to the villain, I was tricked twice in this drama. The first one was about Hao Jia. She was the only one who analyzed which prince would bring the most benefit to her. She also pulled some tricks to meet Yin Song so he could choose her to be his concubine. I thought Hao Jia would be the good-girl-turn-bad kind of character. But boy, I was wrong. She stayed true to be a good person from the beginning to the end of the drama.
And the second one was about Yin Song. I thought he was the only villain in this drama. Yin Song was a cruel and heartless person until he met his predicament in episode 29. But there were still 11 episodes left and a drama could not be without a villain, right? So I guessed that we would have another villain. And I was right…😉
Li Wei was played perfectly by Tian Xi Wei. She was a cheerful girl who was creative and full of ideas. Li Wei looked like a weak and childish person. But she was a persistent girl with tons of empathy inside her petite build. She strived hard to help others when they needed her. Li Wei valued family and friendship above other things.
Li Wei might not be a person with a high IQ or EQ, but she was determined to promote woman’s independence and gender equality. With her creatives idea, she initiated the Woman’s Chamber of Commerce. Her talents did not lie only in her creativity. Li Wei was also a self-taught dietician. Although she was good at food, you should never ask her to make some food because she was a terrible cook.
The cute Bai Jing Ting played Yin Zheng, the Sixth Prince of Xinchuan. The only prince who refused to rely on his wife’s family to gain a reputation. He was born from a concubine and to avoid his ruthless brother’s attention, he forces himself to lay low. Yin Zheng’s body was weak that even Li Wei thought that he would die young.
Yin Zheng used his condition as a façade and pretended to live an idle life. But in reality, Yin Zheng worked harder than his brother. His talent was nurtured by his teacher and slowly but surely, Yin Zheng gained recognition from his father, the Lord of Xinchuan, and the court members. Yin Zheng was a wise person, righteous, and a visioner. His talent lies in governance, but he was a bit clueless when it came to feelings.
The Second Prince was the eldest legitimate son of Lord Xinchian. Yin Song (played by Edward Zhang) was born from madam Xinchuan, the legitimate wife of the lord. Because he was born with high status, Yin Song was an ambitious and arrogant person. Yin Song’s self-centered nature made him always look down on others, including his wives and brothers. Yin Song treated his wives badly, always threatened them, and never took them seriously or listened to them. In his heart and mind, he was the best, the smartest, and the ultimate winner while everybody around him was a loser.
Hao Jia (played by Chen Xiao Yun) came from Yanchuan, which was famous for its fruits and flowers. Yanchuan was just like Xinchuan where men could marry a wife and several concubines. Therefore, Hao Jia did not have any objection to the system. On the contrary, she was ready to be a concubine.
Hao Jia took the marriage with the prince of Xinchuan as a job and she positioned herself as an employee. An employee always wanted to be sheltered by the best company and boss. Therefore, Hao Jia took a chance and tricked Yin Song so he could choose her as his concubine. Hao Jia chose him because she thought that if she relied on the best master, then her life would be better and it would bring more benefit for Yanchuan.
Hao Jia was willing to suffer because that was what an employee would endure right? As long as the company still pays the bills, we would always be at their beck and call. And Hao Jia was a good employee. She came fully prepared at the selection. She had studied the princes of Xinchuan, she even hid the booklet of information about them and disguise it as the book of Commandments for Women.
Hao Jia suffered during her marriage with Yin Song. Not only because of her husband, but also the wife. But she was a strong person who finally saw some enlightenment and decided to resign from the toxic company because her mental health was more important. She tried to open her own business to pay the bills, just like many working-class members did nowadays…
Sounds familiar, eh? 😆
Zhao Fang Ru
She was Yin Song’s legal wife. Zhao Fang Ru (played by Chen Zi Han) came from Daichuan, which was rich in minerals. Her family was a prominent family that owned mines. Unlike Hao Jia who did not have any romantic feelings in Song, Fang Ru really loved her husband deeply.
The Third Prince was the richest, but also the most flamboyant and a playboy. Yin An (played by Liu Guan Lin) was good at managing business and making money. He always refused to enter the court much less involved in state affairs. But for the sake of his solar term girls, he entered the court and later Yin An become Yin Zheng’s supporter. Aside from money, Yin An always loved beautiful girls. He had a wife and 16 concubines at home. Although he never neglected their necessities, Yin An’s wives hated him because of his antics.
Dong Hai Tang
Dong Hai Tang (played by Liu Meng Meng) was married to Yin An earlier than Li Wei. She was a sweet and attentive person. Dong Hai Tang did not love her husband anymore so she could sympathize with his concubines. She was a good manager who took care of the mansion and the people around her. And it was proven when she opened the restaurant business. Dong Hai Tang could carry out the role of a business owner very well.
The Solar Term Girls
The Solar Term Girls was a group of Yin An’s concubines. They consisted of 16 girls that he found and was interested in. Yin An tricked them to enter his mansion. Although he spoiled them with money and daily necessities, the girls did not like Yin An because he only treated them as playthings. Yin An gave the girls the solar term names such as Summer Solstice or Great Heat but always called them by the wrong names.
Yin Jun or the Fourth Prince (played by Ji Xiao Fei) had always been a follower of Yin Song. He was weak but cunning. When Yin Jun was with Yin Song, he was oppressed by him and only could act as a lackey. However, after Yin Song was demoted to a commoner, Yin Jun started to show his ambitious nature. He may not be as smart as Yin Song, but he was as narrow-minded as him.
Yin Qi (played by Chang Long) was not the smartest of all princes because he did not like to study much less be involved in the court. He did not have the capability of a scholar or a martial artist. Yin Qi was born for an idle and carefree life. Although he looked cowardly, Yin Qi had a kind heart and was attentive toward his brother. He fall in love with Hao Jia but was married to the strong Shang Guan Jing.
Yin Qi was the most annoying character for me. At first, he was funny but then he did too many stupid and cowardly things and it make me lose interest in him. Shang Guan Jing had done the right thing to give him a shock treatment so he could think about himself and take responsibility for his life.
Shang Guan Jing
Shang Guan Jing (played by Fan Shuai Qi) was the strongest person among the ladies of New Life Begins. Literally strong. She always wielded a sword with her and was very good at archery. However, it was funny to see she was fated to be Yin Qi’s wife because Yin Qi was the weakest prince. Literally weak 😂
Shang Guan Jing was a strong and independent person. She fears nothing. However, behind her heroic bearing, she was still a sensitive and kind girl. She valued the friendship between the girls and was always ready to help them.
Princess Yuan Ying (played by Liu Ling Zi) came from Jichuan. At first, she had to come to the selection at the same time as Li Wei. However, her father the Lord of Jichuan, was a pretty calculative person and wanted to consider which prince would bring him more profit, so he made her withdraw from the selection. When Yin Zheng came to Jichuan, he saw that he was a good candidate for her and made him marry Yuan Ying as his legal wife.
Yuan Ying was a talented woman. She was smart and a very good strategist. Her knowledge was on par with Yin Zheng. They could be a powerful couple if there were any feelings between them. But unfortunately, Yuan Ying and Yin Zheng never love each other. Yuan Ying could see how much Yin Zheng loved Li Wei. And as a person who came from provinces with the same value, Yuan Ying also was not fond of the concubinage system.
She made a deal with Yin Zheng that they would have a divorce after he gained a firm foothold in the court, she also trained Li Wei to be a supportive wife for Yin Zheng. She taught her accounting and management.
But behind her achievement, lies an unsupportive family. Yuan Ying strived very hard to be good at everything so her family could accept her and her dream. She finally found the support system in Prince Zheng’s mansion.
Song Wu (played by Liu Mei Han) always thought that she would be Yin Zheng’s wife. The idea itself was a misunderstanding on her side, but Song Wu believed it wholeheartedly. As the adoptive daughter of Madam He. And Yin Zheng’s adoptive sister, Song Wu was a spoiled brat. She did everything as she wished carelessly. Although she was such an annoying person, she was actually a good person who just needed some love and care. When she fell in love with a commoner with the same name as hers, Song Wu. She would let everything go to be with him.
New Life Begins’s ending was a happy ending. Although there were some divorces, the girls lived the life that they dreamed of. At the end of the drama, Li Wei was in the early stage of pregnancy and was living a good life with Yin Zheng who was conferred as Crown Prince.
Hao Jia gave birth to a baby girl and divorced Yin Song. She decided to rely on herself and opened a cosmetic stall in the city. Shang Guan Jing also divorced Yin Qi. But Yin Qi realized his mistakes and went to Dachuan to pursue her again. They reconciled and lived as an idle couple who roamed the Nine Regions.
Yuan Ying finally got her freedom after Yin Zheng and Li Wei helped her to get the divorce letter that she always wanted. They also went to Jichuan to explain the situation to the Lord of Jichuan. In the end, Yuan Ying’s parents realized that their daughter was talented in governance and let her be the first female official in Jichuan.
Yin An suffered when all his wives ran away from him. He realized that he was such a narcissistic person and he treated his wives terribly. However, he still tried to make up with them. And the first thing he did was to remember all the names of his concubines…😂
The villain Yin Song, Yin Jun, and Yin Jun’s wife An Xi Yuan also had to pay for everything they did. Yin Song was demoted to a commoner. He now lived alone because after Hao Jia divorced him, Zhao Fang Ru also left him. The Lord of Xinchuan could see through Yin Jun’s plot to kill Yin Zheng. He ordered Yin Jun to divorce An Xi Yuan because she was too ambitious and gave a bad influence on him. But Yin Jun refused to let her go because he really loved her. An Xi Yuan and Yin Jun realized that they had gone astray and decided to live a peaceful life together.
I will explain more detail of New Life Begins ending on a seperate post, New Life Begins ending explained. You can kindly read it. Thank you.
It was a good thing that I came across this drama. Although the story was a bit slow for me, the story was refreshing. New Life Begins talks about a group of people that strive hard to find the purpose of their life. Li Wei who was a little bit naïve became a mature person in the end. And Yin Zheng worked hard to gain recognition from his father and the court. Everybody tried to do their best to live the life that they wanted.
New Life Begins was quite comedic, but in reality, it was a serious drama. I would recommend this drama to those who loved Bai Jing Ting and his sweet appearance but at the same time also wanted something different from a historical drama. And if you watched this drama, you’ll get a bonus of beautiful visuals. Do not forget your snack and drink because the sight of Li Wei eating was quite addicting. Happy watching dear readers!