My thanks to Netgalley and ChocLit for the review copy. Due to be be published in ebook on 15th May 2015 and in paperback in October 2015
What the book is about:
Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom. On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable jade lioness ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour. But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?
17th Century Japan is not a place and time I am very familiar with but after reading The Jade Lioness, I feel I know more about the culture and lifestyles of that era. Christina Courtenay brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of Japan. Temperance and Kazuo are both likeable, very believable characters and their growing attraction to each other is obvious. This book is primarily about forbidden love which grows across a cultural divide and in unlikely circumstances. But it’s not just a romance: there is danger for both characters as Temperance is sold as a courtesan. Kazuo aids her escape putting himself in danger too. There follows a series of incidents when just as all seems safe, another dangerous situation presents itself. I like books where love conquers all: whether it does in The Jade Lioness is up to you to find out by reading it for yourself.