Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?
It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

This story begins in Japan and finishes in Plymouth, England. I liked Midori from the beginning of the book although sometimes her strong will and always thinking she knew best got her into the most awful of situations. Captain Nico was all you would expect a hero to be, handsome, kind and strict when he has to be as he commands a ship full of men.
Midori has to leave the only home she's ever known where her family were rich noblemen and travel to a foreign land to meet the family her English mother had ran away from,when, dressed as a boy she stowed away on a ship bound for Japan. She also leaves behind her half brother and his family as staying in Japan could put their lives in danger too.
The second part of the book is set in Plymouth where they are on the brink of civil war and everyone is needed to defend their city. Midori meets her Aunts and cousins and her uncle,but is she made welcome as the daughter of their disgraced relative who defied her family? And will she survive the civil war?

This is the first book written by  Christina Courtney that I have read and I really enjoyed it,so much so that I downloaded another one,The Scarlet Kimono and can't wait to read it.
I have read a few historical books set in Japan and this one is every bit as good.I love a book that educates as well as entertains and I am now a bit more knowledgeable about Japan and also England during the seventeenth century than I was before.
I felt Midori's pain as she left behind the beautiful house and gardens she loved so much taking with her only what she could carry and facing a life of living in a different culture if she even survived the journey. I felt anger at some of the horrible men she came in contact with that even those who cared for her couldn't protect her from.
I found The Gilded Fan to be a page turner and you don't have to be a fan of historical novels to read it as it's not too heavy as some can be but a very enjoyable read.

The Gilded Fan is a four star read.

The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan

One of Spain’s richest men is dying. But as he prepares his estate, his family is shocked to discover he is making plans to give away ...