Romance of a Twin Flower (2023) 春闺梦里人
Summary: Nie Sang Yu 聂桑榆 ft Peng Xiao Ran 彭小苒 jumps off a cliff after finding out her husband, Ning Yu Xuan 宁钰轩 ft Ding Yu Xi 丁禹兮 marries another woman. She is rescued by Ning Yu Xian’s men but when she awakes, she has lost all of her memory and curiously now has talents in cooking, medicine, and skincare. Ning Yu Xian is suspicious of her 180 change in nature but soon gets drawn into her antics as Nie Sang Yu’s only focus is now to leave her husband and become a rich merchant.
Total Episode Count: 38
Initial Airing Date: March 21, 2023
Final Score 6.0/10 – A mindless yet playful romantic comedy that has literally every trope in the book. Deng Yu Xi and Peng Xiao Ran make for a cute couple and this is a fun drama to watch but one can probably guess where the drama is heading right from the beginning.
A light hearted romantic comedy that leans heavily into comedy. After her rescue, Nie Sang Yu tries her best to earn money, despite her husband’s best efforts to prevent her from doing so. Don’t think too hard about this drama because the point is to watch the lovely Peng Xiao Ran and handsome Ding Yu Xi build their romance.
The plot is paper thin and heavy with tropes. You want lost memory, mistaken identity, long lost twins, slow moving shots to highlight the main couple? You got all of them! It’s quite a saccharine drama with little tension, so if you’re looking for a sweet, non-threatening romance drama with lovely costumes, then this is one for you.
Ning Yu Xuan
宁钰轩 ft Ding Yu Xi 丁禹兮. The Marquis of Mo Yu, he is married to Nie Sang Yu. He is surprised at her change in temperament and finds himself slowly falling in love with this new version of her
Nie Sang Yu
季曼/聂桑榆 ft Peng Xiao Ran 彭小苒. She wakes up without a memory, to find that she’s married to the Marquis and has a nasty reputation. She wants to build a business empire to fulfill her dream
袁朗 ft Yi Da Qian 易大千. A member of the Tea Gang, he vowed to get revenge on his father’s death. He encounters Ji Man and recognizes her as his long lost sister and protects her in her business endeavors
Ling Jian Xing
凌剑星 ft Ma Ke 马可. Ruthless and cunning, he is an enemy of Ning Yu Xian at court, he strives to find every opportunity to strike down the Marquis and solidify his position at court.
温婉 ft Jia Nai Na 加奈那. Concubine to Ning Yu Xuan, she has ambition to replace Nie Sang Yu as madame of the household. She will do anything to achieve that goal
鬼白 ft He Chang Xi 何昶希. Loyal soldier to Ning Yu Xuan, he is sworn to protect the Marquis with his life and live in the shadows. However, his life changes after he meets Shui Niang Zi
Shui Niang Zi
水娘子 ft Luo Qiu Yun 罗秋韵. A famous prostitute who agrees to partner with Nie Sang Yu in opening a skincare shop. She falls for Gui Bai but must grasp their future together
Qian Lian Xue
千怜雪 ft Ah Li Ya 阿丽亚. Cousin to Ning Yu Xuan, she constantly has to bail out her gambling addicted brother. She is rescued by Ji Man and agrees to run her shop for her.
Known as the evil madame in the capital, Nie Sang Yu (ft Peng Xiao Ran 彭小苒), daughter of General Nie and wife of the Marquis of Mo Yu, Ning Yu Xuan (ft. Ding Yu Xi 丁禹兮), cannot bear the thought of her husband marrying another woman, Wen Wan (ft Jia Nai Na 加奈那). In an act of defiance, she jumps off a cliff on his wedding day. Ning Yu Xuan’s men rescue her but when she wakes, Nie Sang Yu has lost all memory of who she is and her relationship to Ning Yu Xuan.
Nie Sang Yu suddenly has new skills such as cooking, medical expertise, and knowledge of how to make skincare products. She’s also much more interested in becoming rich and escaping the Marquis manor than she is in her marriage. She happily uses the Marquis manor and Ning Yu Xuan to make money. Ning Yu Xuan is highly suspicious of his wife’s change in demeanor and attitude but initially waves it off as her trying to find new ways to capture his attention.
Ning Yu Xuan has spent his entire life trying to round up members of the Tea Gang, believing them to be the ones who killed his father. Yuan Lang, a leader of the gang, almost gets captured in the capital city. One day, he see’s the jade pendant that Nie Sang Yu owns and believes that she is has strong ties to the Tea Gang and decides to build a relationship with her, posing as a merchant. He
Ning Yu Xuan’s political enemies at court close in on him, leveraging Nie Sang Yu’s poor reputation at court to banish Ning Yu Xuan to a port city. At this point though, Ning Yu Xuan feels drawn to his wife as she seems truly to have changed. He invites her to join him to the port city. While at the port city, Nie Sang Yu seems to be recognized by several others as a Miss Ji. Ning Yu Xuan becomes suspicious and orders his men to do a little bit of digging on this Miss Ji.
Unaware of these rumors, Nie Sang Yu is intent on opening her own skincare shop and build a reputation for herself in the city. She befriends a local performer who agrees to collaborate with her in this venture. Things do not go smoothly as the local merchants and seamen have their own ways of conducting business. Nie Sang Yu must find her own path and turn the tide for her business. Meanwhile, Ning Yu Xuan finds concrete proof that his wife, is not in fact, Nie Sang Yu, but another woman called Ji Man.
I’d say that this drama was below average. It’s a fun mindless watch in which the viewer just has to throw all logic out of the window, accept that nearly every romance drama trope is going to be stuffed in this drama, and go along for the ride. When it’s cute, it’s very cute, but when it gets eye-rolling, it’s VERY eye-rolling. There’s clearly a market for this type of drama for its light and breezy style or else these dramas wouldn’t be made but it was clearly not meant for me.
This drama also aired with little fanfare. The last episode just aired and there was basically no marketing from Tencent about this drama. It has unfortunately been labeled as a dud both critically and viewership-wise.
Ding Yu Xi and Peng Xiao Ran both had hits with Romance of the Rose and the Tiger and Farewell My Princess respectively, but both have failed to capture that same spark from those two dramas. Ding Yu Xi’s character in this drama is basically the same as his character in Romance of the Rose and the Tiger so this is an easy role for him. Sadly for Peng Xiao Ran, there was an interview with her where she said this role was the only one she would get cast in, which is shocking to me. I hope she chooses her next projects more wisely.
I will go on a mini-rant on this drama because in the year 2023, I cannot believe dramas such as this are still being made.
Why did I not like this drama?
Rehash of old tropes: There’s so many romance tropes in this particular drama that I was basically ticking them off by episode 5. I don’t have any issue with these tropes, but the problem with this drama is that there’s nothing new about them. It was like the drama itself had a quote to fill and then just went through the motions to add all of them into the drama. Let me list a few of them:
- Twins separated at birth
- Memory loss of our female lead
- Mistaken identities
- Falling in love and then discovering that your beloved is the child of your father’s murderer
- Evil concubine who tries to ruin the main couple
- Love triangles galore!
In the original book, the character of Ji Man was a modern day woman who transported through time to this era and I think it translated rather poorly to the small screen.
A female lead who is basically a Mary Sue 傻白甜 : Everything in this drama came way too easily for Nie Sang Yu / Ji Man. Ji Man, without any of her memory, finds herself in the Marquis household and wins everyone over by being extremely nice and having crazy skills. A maid she “punished” before? She makes a miracle skincare product that will remove all the scars and then all is forgiven. Ning Yu Xuan gets injured? She writes a prescription to cure him! She doesn’t have any money? Why, she’s a genius businesswoman who will make money however she wants! Then, with all of that, her husband and a mysterious stranger start actually falling in love with her? What luck! Everything that Nie Sang Yu and Ji Man does basically has no consequences and attracts praise from everyone around her. She is an intelligent woman and has her own ambitions, but so much of it is BECAUSE of her husband that it was really hard for me to believe much of this was feasible.
The premise is that these are twins separated at birth but each fell into very powerful households; one, a general, and another, the leader of a fleet. They barely knew any hardships in life. Nie Sang Yu chose the evil route “out of love” and marries into the Marquis’s household and basically tortured everyone because of how possessive she was of her husband. Ji Man wanted to be the wealthiest businesswoman in the empire. I really wanted those two separate storylines instead of the memory loss story that we got.
A Knight in Shining Armor who’s basically has no job: I admit that Ning Yu Xuan is extremely easy on the eyes. However, for much of this drama, he’s spending his time chasing after Nie Sang Yu / Ji Man and I am wondering how he gets anything done at work. He’s also there to be pouty and jealous whenever Nie Sang Yu / Ji Man gets too close to Yuan Lang. His whole rivalry between Yuan Lang and Ling Jian Xing are after thoughts that really just serve to push his relationship with Ji Man forward. At least he understands that he loves Ji Man and not Nie Sang Yu.
Complete disregard for history: I guess this drama just decided to throw any semblance of history out the window and put set this drama in an alternate universe where the director just decided to pick and choose what parts to use. Yes, every drama does this, but it was especially obvious in this drama. This really took me out of the drama as I was watching it. For example, I’m praising costumes in general below, but I literally could not get over Nie Sang Yu / Ji Man’s hairstyle and outfits for the entire drama. She’s a married woman, why is her hair down?? She’s still frolicking around the whole city as though she was unmarried. There’s also a ton of modern language that’s used in the drama that was very jarring. I guess I just need to accept this alternate universe.
Weak Evil Characters: Wen Wan is the typical evil concubine who set out to ruin the main couple. However, after the first few episodes, I’m understood where she’s coming from. Nie Sang Yu had a terrible reputation. She tortured servants and basically disregarded others. Why wouldn’t she believe she has a chance? Ning Yu Xuan made it clear that nothing would happen between the two of them but he also barely gave her much respect as a concubine. As for Ling Jian Xing, he was a pretty weak character who’s main motive was just for political gain.
Why should you watch this drama?
- Wonderful settings and production design
- Handsome looking cast
- Cute side plot with Gui Bai and Shui Niang Zi
After episode 2, I sped through this drama and grew more and more frustrated with it. I recommend passing this one for other dramas.