Li Lan's family fortunes are diminishing, and with them her chance for a good marriage. Her father is an opium addict, and her mother is dead, so when a wealthy matriarch approaches Li Lan's father with the offer of marrying Li Lan to the matriarch Lims's only son, she might have been happy. The only problem is that Li Lan's proposed betrothed, Tian Ching, is dead. The new family heir, a nephew, Tian Bai, is a more appealing fiancé, but even though he was originally meant for Li Lan, Tian Bai has influence on earth and in heaven, or rather in purgatory.
This mystical novel reminded me of Peony in Love, by Lisa See. See's story takes place in 17th century China, and Choo's in 19th century Malaysia, but they're both rooted in Chinese/Buddhist visions of the afterlife, which is just as controlled by greedy spirits and corrupt officials as mortal life.
The Ghost Bride is well-imagined and believable in that probable impossibility sort of way. Clearly, you can expect some sort of love story with the word "ghost" in the title, but I was a jot disappointed that the ending came down to a romantic choice.
Addendum: dear dog, I read and reviewed this book in 2013.