I found this author through a review by Khan about it's sequel (which also made me want to watch The Curse of the Golden Flower). So me being me can't knowingly start a series in the middle, got a hold of the first book the Lotus Palace.
It had a very slow start up until the halfway mark, it picked up a little and then everything happened all at once. The story follows Yue-Ying, a former prostitute turned servant to the Pingkang Li's most popular courtesan, and her relationship with Lord Bai Huang a playboy scholar and Lotus Palace frequent customer. It is definitely a Cinderella type of story in its most basic form. Rich guy+Poor Girl=HEA. But add a little murder, greed, and court intrigue to the mix and you've got a solid story.