Saturday, 23 February 2013

Books Read: Christina Courtenay - The Gilded Fan

    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 ...

In 1641 Japan the Shogun has decided to persecute all foreigners and Christians which threatens the comfortable life that Midori has led.  Due to her mother's English heritage Midori is classified as a gai-jin, a foreigner, despite having lived her whole life in Japan.  

Together with her half-brother Ichiro she heads to Dejima to try and seek passage on one of the trading ships that are in the harbour.  Midori tells her brother that the ship is sailing to England when infact it's only going as far as Amsterdam, she'll travel the rest of the way to Plymouth on her own.  

The last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is to be responsible for a woman on a ship full of sailors, especially a woman as young and attractive as Midori is, but she soon convinces him that she can look after herself.  

During the journey which has its fair share of dramas the two of them strike up a close friendship based on mutual respect.  Once docked in Amsterdam Nico decides that he cannot let her travel alone but he's in for a shock himself when he discovers exactly where it is she's headed and who she's off to see...

However if Midori thought her troubles would be over once she reached her English relatives she's sadly mistaken for first she has to earn their acceptance and then she will have to face the civil war that is brewing.  But also will she be able to say goodbye to Nico after all the time they have spent together?

This was another beautiful historical romance from Christina Courtenay which explores the differences in culture and religion as well as the impact that civil unrest has on families.

Although The Gilded Fan has been billed as the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono it can be read completely as a standalone as the only connection is Midori, the daughter of Hannah and Taro whose story is told in the previous book.  

Having now read and enjoyed two of Christina Courtenay's books I'll definitely be looking to read more books by her in the future.  I'd like to thank Jane at Choc Lit for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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