- Title: Romance of a Twin Flower
- Also Known As: 春闺梦里人, The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir, Chun Gui Meng Li Ren, Spring Boudoir Dream
- Director: Xie Ze
- Cast: Ding Yu Xi and Peng Xiao Ran
- Genres: Romance, Historical, Drama
- Country: China
- Type: Drama
- Episodes: 38
- Year: 2023
- Original Network: Tencent Video
- Where to watch: WeTV, Viki, Tencent Video
- Adapted from the web novel “The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir” by Bai Lu Cheng Shuang.
Dear readers… I’m sorry for the late post. We’re currently celebrating Eid al-Fitr, so we have to spend several days visiting relatives and also receiving guests. And it really exhausted my introverted soul. 😩
Romance of a Twin Flower had been on WeTV Hot list for weeks since it was released on March 2023, and we included it on our Popular Chinese Dramas Premiering in 2023 list. I was excited to write this review because I need a place to rant because I feel dissatisfied with this one. However, the internet gave Romance of a Twin Flower good reviews. So, I need a place to justify my feelings. You might have a different opinion about this drama, but let me tell you about Romance of a Twin Flower in my humble opinion.
Romance of a Twin Flower Drama Synopsis
Ji Man and Nie Sangyu had similar faces but they never knew each other. Nie Sangyu spent her life as a noble young woman from a prominent family in the capital while Ji Man came from a merchant family. But one day, after a horrible incident, Ji Man woke up in Nie Sangyu’s lavish bedroom. She lost her memory, therefore she believed that her name was Nie Sangyu, the lawfully wedded wife of Ning Yu Xuan.
Although everybody believed that Ji Man was Nie Sangyu because of her face, their character was different like heaven and earth. Ji Man was a kind and lively person while Nie Sangyu was brimming with arrogance. She was notoriously famous for being the cruelest girl in the capital. She would punish everybody at her will and regard others as ants.
However, Nie Sangyu had one weakness. She was madly in love with Ning Yu Xuan. She did everything so she could marry him, even to the point of disregarding her family. But married life was completely different from her imagination. Ning Yu Xuan hated her. For four years, he never touched her or treated her with kindness. His words were sharp, and his actions were sharper. But Nie Sangyu never backed down from loving him.
Until the day when Ning Yu Xuan married a concubine named Wen Wan. She was not a good person and Nie Sangyu and her hot-blooded temper fell into her trick. Nie Sangyu ran into the forest and ended up on the edge of a cliff. Under the condescending look of Ning Yu Xuan, Nie Sangyu realized that she had lost the only hope she had.
Brokenhearted, she jumped from the cliff and fell into the river. That was the moment when fate took over. When she opened her eyes, Ji Man did not know that she had taken over Nie Sangyu’s life.
Ji Man tried hard to change Nie Sangyu’s infamy. She did many things to redeem Nie Sangyu’s evilness because she wanted to live a good life. While doing that, Ji Man’s talent in business emerged. She started to make money by making face cream. With her genius marketing campaign, Ji Man’s skincare business started to thrive.
Ning Yu Xuan realized that since she fell into the river, his nefarious wife has turned into a different person. Nie Sangyu was no longer an atrocious person. She treated her maids kindly and she suddenly had many abilities that never existed before. But the most important was, Nie Sangyu no longer looked at him with an infatuated look.
Ning Yu Xuan felt a sense of loss when Nie Sangyu demanded a divorce. What should Ning Yu Xuan do when he realized that the wife that held him in her heart no longer existed?
Romance of a Twin Flower Drama Review
When the pandemic started, my appetite for Cnovel increased. I read many web novels that I lost count of it. Some of them were terrible that I dropped them after a few chapters and some of them were soo good that I reread them. And the Dreamer in The Spring Boudoir was considered to be the latter. It has 260 chapters but it did not feel that long.
At first, I was not aware that this drama was a novel adaptation since the title was totally different from the web novel. However, I vaguely remembered the character names, Nie Sangyu and Ning Yu Xuan, the scumbag husband of hers…😂
Then I did a little bit of research and found out this drama was the adaptation of the novel. I was elated. Yet I’m afraid that the story would be different from the novel. It never feels good when your suspicion turns to be true. I did feel some disappointment because there weren’t any similarities between the novel and the drama, except for the characters’ names. Too many differences that made me furrowed my brows.
After several episodes, I still hoped that the story would at least be close to the book. But when they changed Nie Qing Yun’s gender to a woman instead of a man, I gave up the idea. It was better to think about this drama as a real drama and not a novel adaptation. Then there would be less heartache and fewer rants.
But still… I could not pretend to not care about it. 🤨
So, dear readers, please be prepared to read some rants in this drama review.
Although I was doubtful, Romance of a Twin Flower was quite entertaining. The cinematography was very good. The director, Xie Ze, and Peng Xiao Ran were reunited after their 2021 drama, Jun Jiu Ling. I must say that I feel uncanny feelings towards the drama.
As I recalled, Jun Jiu Ling was also based on a novel and I felt disappointed by the story. I’ve written a review of Jun Jiu Ling drama on this website, you might want to check it later. Thankfully, unlike Jun Jiu Ling, I did not spend months watching the whole episode of Romance of a Twin Flower. 😉
Romance of a Twin Flower’s production was satisfying. The set was beautiful and very detailed. However, if you were a history fanatic, beware of some aspects that might not conform to history. Such as contemporary clothes and hairstyles. Even the business and Haoxue cosmetic shop were different from the usual historical drama sets.
Many dramas only portrayed shops with a small spaces filled with tables and cabinets full of goods and a cashier. But Haoxue Cosmetics was arranged like a modern drugstore with spacious space. There were many tables where the consumer could wander around to try the tester.
When I talked about hairstyles, I referred to Ji Man’s hairstyle. She did not use any bun or complicated hairdo, only some braids on the top of her head and she secured it with a headband. While the rest of her hair was hanging behind her back. As far as I knew, a married woman in ancient China must comb their hair in a bun. Only unmarried women let their hair hang behind their backs. Yet, Ji Man and Nie Sangyu never comb their hair in the way married women did.
Ji Man’s headband was cute, but it was too simple. Muxu, Nie Sangyu’s maid, should remind Ji Man to dress like a marchioness since her “husband” had a marquis title. The real Nie Sangyu fitted the title, but Ji Man should try harder. 😉
Meanwhile, when I saw Ding Yu Xi, I feel like I was watching The Romance of Tiger and Rose drama because he looked exactly like Han Shuo and he exuded the same aura. I was wondering why he did not try a different kind of hairstyle. Because he did look good with long hair…😍
The costumes were quite contemporary, especially Shui Niang Zi’s dancing costumes and Ji Man’s wedding dress. I’m trying to accept the aesthetic, but it was a hard thing to do. It was good to have some creativity in a historical drama, but stubborn people like me would prefer an olden design.
But I do not have any complaints about the production. Xie Ze did a good job on this drama. The lighting, the angle, the shoot, everything was perfect. It was such a joy to see a drama that did not have an awkward cut in every episode’s ending.
In my opinion, Romance of a Twin Flower story was lacking in several aspects. For instance, the first thing that made me wonder was when Ji Man was found and mistakenly recognised as Nie Sangyu. Did the people from the Marquis household not remember how she dressed? Was it even possible that Ji Man and Nie Sangyu used the same clothes when they were lost in the river?
Gui Bai remembered the dress that Nie Sangyu wore when he reinvestigated Nie Sangyu’s whereabouts. But how could they not have realized it in the first place and immediately claimed Ji Man as Nie Sangyu? They do have the same jade pendants, but you could not disregard the dress she wore.
The Downsides of the Romance of a Twin Flower drama’s story
- Too Many Tropes On The Story
Romance of a Twin Flower has too many tropes. It started with amnesia and then was followed by mistaken identity. Then it turned into a love triangle and a twin who separated at birth. After that, a blood feud between families appeared. Oh… do not forget to add the evil concubine: the white lotus who pretended to be good.
Those tropes made me feel like seeing someone who put too many bold accessories on herself. It was flashy yet hard to appreciate because every accessory suppressed one another.
- Different Than The Novel
In the novel, the story was packed with political issues. Ning Yu Xuan was a high-profile statesman who was smart and cunning. He would make use of everybody as long as it conformed to his aim and objections. He pretended to love Wen Wan and disregarded his own wife for political reasons.
But of course, you would not find it in this drama, since the adaptation was very different from the novel. And in the novel, Ji Man was a transmigrated woman from the modern world who used to work in a big company. Therefore, Ji Man had a different point of view from the ancient people and many novel ideas in her mind.
- The Characters Were too Good to Be True
In this drama, Ji Man’s character was too good to be true. She was kind, and her talent in business and apothecary was amazing. Therefore everything she did was successful. She sold Ning Yu Xuan’s paintings and gained money from the noble ladies of the capital. She made Feiwan Cream, and the Haoxue Cosmetic was thriving. She opened a grain store and in a year she had become a big player in the business.
Meanwhile, Ning Yu Xuan had become a love fool that needed Gui Bai’s help to keep his state of mind clear. We could not see his cleverness until the end of the drama. Plus in the novel, Gui Bai did not play a very significant role as in the drama. In the novel, Gui Bai was a good bodyguard and a reliable right-hand man, but in this drama, he looked a tad too timid and naïve.
- Lack of Contexts
Unlike Jun Jiu Ling, where we were clueless about the character’s past, Romance of a Twin Flower did delve into the character’s past life. We all knew about the past life of Ji Man/Nie Sangyu and what made Ning Yu Xuan pyrophobia. It was conveyed in a series of flashbacks which were quite informative and straight to the point.
However, I feel like I was reading a museum label describing an object displayed instead of listening to a story from the tour guide. You have the information but it was lackluster. For example, the flashback when Ning Yu Xuan told Ji Man about the death of his father that resulted in his pyrophobia.
Yet, I feel some characters deserved more explanation, such as why Tao Si Wei was sooooo obsessed with Nie Sangyu. How about Yuan Lang and the Tea Gang, or Nie Sangyu’s little sister Nie Qing Yun and their father, Nie Xiang Yuan?
I wondered, why would people make a very loose adaptation of a book into a movie, and why they did not write a whole different story. 🤷♀️
The Upsides of the Romance of a Twin Flower drama’s story
But I am not a person who would only complain and did not know how to praise. I feel like the romance in this drama was unbearable. But Ji Man’s business strategy was another thing. It was fun to analyze the story from a business perspective because Ji Man was a talented person.
She made her own skincare line, although she was in an amnesia state. It could be said that she was able to produce skincare because it was her innate talent. And maybe the screenwriter chose skincare as Ji Man’s business type because nowadays skincare business were booming.
When Ji Man tried to produce her cosmetic for the first time, she needed money to do the production. So she raised money by using Nie Sangyu’s talent: to draw Ning Yu Xuan’s portrait. She sold all the paintings and made enough money to make the first batch.
Ji Man and Nie Sangyu did not realize that they were working together to raise money. If Nie Sangyu was still alive, I am sure they would continue to sell those pictures. And probably they would open an exhibition of Ning Yu Xuan’s paintings just to get the ticket money….🤣
Then when Ji Man and Ning Yu Xuan moved to Haifang, she opened a shop, Haoxue Cosmetics. Ji Man’s genius marketing strategy also involved a brand ambassador. She chose Shui Niang Zi, the famous star of Shuiyan House to be the brand ambassador and put her picture on banners. It was quite modern, isn’t it?
Ji Man also made use of Shui Niang Zi’s dance performance as a commercial. Ji Man made me think of one prominent figure: Rihanna and her SuperBowl-Fenty moment. It was an excellent commercial idea. I was bad at business, tried several times but failed. But I still have some kind of interest in the business world.
Nie Sangyu (played by Peng Xiao Ran), evil lady who was infamous for her atrocious behaviors. She would punish her maid and servants in the cruelest ways. However, aside from the four arts, Nie Sangyu did not seem to excel in anything. Her EQ was low and she was easy to deceive by Wen Wan.
Nie Sangyu fell madly in love with Ning Yu Xuan and she was willing to marry him and completely disregard her own family who loved her very much. She endured her unhappy marriage for four years and vented her anger to the servants. She jumped off the cliff because Nie Sangyu believed that Ning Yu Xuan really loved Wen Wan and it broke her heart. Nie Sangyu lost her hope and death seemed to be the way out.
Contrary to Nie Sangyu who lived as a noble lady of the capital, Ji Man (also played by Peng Xiao Ran) grew up on a ship. Her father, Ji Ming, was a fleet leader. He was a very successful merchant and Ji Man grew up watching him managed the business. Her life was not as easy as it seemed but she managed to live it well.
Therefore, I was kinda shocked when Ji Man turned into a naïve person when she lived in the Marquise residence. As a talented businesswoman, she must have some shrewdness and a calculative demeanor.
Ji Man’s nonchalant attitude when asking for a divorce made Ning Yu Xuan feel a sense of loss. It seemed that although he showed a cold demeanor toward Nie Sangyu, Ning Yu Xuan still regarded her as his fan…😂
Peng Xiao Ran did a good job as both Nie Sangyu and Ji Man. However, I was expecting a more fierce look from her. A different kind of hairstyle would make her look mature and sharp. The loose hair and the headband made her look like a naïve young woman.
Ning Yu Xuan
Ning Yu Xuan or Marquis Moyu (played by Ding Yu Xi), was the Emperor’s right-hand man. He was a loyal subordinate and it irked the Emperor’s enemy, Prince Tan. Although his career was smooth sailing, his marriage was a disaster. But because it was bestowed by the Emperor, he could not divorce Nie Sangyu at will.
Ning Yu Xuan completely disregarded Nie Sangyu as a wife. He never touched her for four years and when she jumped off the cliff, Ning Yu Xuan’s body language did not betray his feelings. He did not seem surprised and probably he felt a little bit of schadenfreude. To be honest, Ning Yu Xuan was completely the opposite of the ideal husband type.
However, when Ji Man said that she wanted to divorce him, Ning Yu Xuan seemed at a loss. He never thought that his die-hard fan would want to separate from him. He became interested in her because Ji Man had a different character from Nie Sangyu. And after he fell in love with Ji Man, Ning Yu Xuan turned into a love fool. His arrogance and pride made him pretend to be a cold young master while in reality, his puppy eyes secretly followed Ji Man everywhere. It was cute but at the same time, it annoyed me.
Ding Yu Xi’s had good acting. But I feel that in this drama he was a two-dimensional character. And I believed that Ding Yu Xi could do so much more than this. Well, if not in this drama, I’m sure in the next one we could see him shining like a bright star.
This was my favorite character. Compared to Ji Man and Ning Yu Xuan, I could grasp Yuan Lang’s character better. Yuang Lang (played by Yi Da Qian) was a loyal person, passionate, smart, and a little bit hot-tempered. He knew what he wanted and how to get it.
It was true that viewers would always fall in love with the second male lead. Because in my eyes, Yuan Lang was far better than Ning Yu Xuan. He was handsome, attentive, and kind, and I like it when he used a dark robe. It emphasized his handsomeness by several points.
Yuan Lang learned Ji Man’s identity from her jade pendant. He instantly turned into a protector who worked secretly to protect Ji Man during her business venture. He helped her many times and only revealed his identity after Ji Man arrived in Haifang City.
Yi Da Qian did a very good job as Yuan Lang. And if you find his face familiar, Yi Da Qian had played in several famous dramas such as Love Designer, the Long Balad, Who Rules the World, and Eternal Love of Dream.
Ling Jian Xing
Ling Jian Xing (played by Ma Ke) was the antagonist of this drama. He was ruthless and cunning and held a very deep grudge against Ning Yu Xuan. Ling Jian Xing was a loyal follower of Prince Tan. And he used every possible means to drag Ning Yu Xuan down because Ning Yu Xuan was his rival.
I did not have enough impression of Ma Ke in his former dramas. However, he did a good job as the villain in Romance of a Twin Flower because I hate the sight of him. Every time Ling Jian Xing appeared, I wanted to skip the scenes. Therefore, aside from being ruthless and cunning, I did not have enough impression of his character.
Wen Was (played by Jia Nai Na) was Ning Yu Xuan’s concubine. She was a white lotus kind of girl, who pretended to be good but in reality, she was a devil to the core. Wen Wan fell in love with Ning Yu Xuan and used any means to marry him. On the wedding day, she played a trick on Nie Sangyu to get rid of her. Yet, Wen Wan was surprised when her plan turned against her and she lost completely when Ning Yu Xuan fell in love with Ji Man.
Jia Nai Na did a good job as a villain. Although she would smile and her demeanor was gentle, you still could feel the wickedness in her character. Jia Nai Na used to take part in A Dream of Splendor drama as a support role and I believed her future would be bright.
Dear readers, if you asked me whether I like Romance of a Twin Flower or not, I would say I did not like it. This drama was not my cup of tea. However, the production was good and you could not find fault in it. It was pleasing to the eyes, either the sets or the actors. However, the story was lacking. And I gave a good rating because of the production.
If you aimed at romance, you might like this drama since Ning Yu Xuan and Ji Man were a sweet couple. However, if you were looking for something more than that, be prepared to be disappointed. But I promise you, the visual would make up for your disappointment… at least in my eyes, Yuan Lang still light up my day…😁
If you want to know how this drama ended, I wrote Romance of a Twin Flower ending explained, just drop by and I will much appreciate it 🙂
Happy watching, dear readers!