Started – 6/7/12
Finished – 20/7/12
Format – Hardback Book
Synopsis – Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over – or so it seems.
Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now rules the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma.
Taka and Nobu’s love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka’s father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing.
When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka’s father and brother, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice: between her family and the man she loves…
My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the Historical Hardback Reading Challenge from the publishers Transworld. I picked this book as i love books set in Japan, after falling in love after reading Memoirs of a Geisha.
This book is about Taka, the daughter of a general in the army and a former geisha. To start with her life is fairly comfortable, until herself and her mother are attacked in a tea house. A young man steps in to defend them, and it is here that we meet Nobu. He manages to fight off the attacker and in return gets a job as a ‘servant’ carrying Takas books about for her. They quickly become friends, however there is one big problem, Taka and Nobu are from different clans, warring clans and would never ever be aloud to be together.
I liked the massive change in culture that is discribed in this book, its kind of a modernisation of Japan and i thought that this came across very well in the book. However Japan was still a bit of a traditional country as Taka had to get her maid to take letters to and from Nobu and not take them herself.
I liked how the book was spilt into sections and followed a number of years. For me this made the book span like a proper love story and really made me enjoy the story more. I also liked how it told the story from both Taka and Nobu’s point of veiw and even though this meant telling certain events twice, it really made me understand the characters more.
During the book it kind of went from a riches to rags story with Taka, i felt that this was well done with the approach of the war. The war at the end of the book was my favourite part and i couldnt put this book down towards the end.
This book is a kind of Romeo and Juilet book set in Japan. I loved reading it and really enjoyed emmersing myself in Japanese culture.
Rating – 4/5