Saturday, 2 February 2013

Books Read: Christina Courtenay - The Scarlet Kimono

Abducted by a Samurai warlord in 17th-century Japan 

What happens when fear turns to love? England, 1611, and young Hannah Marston envies her brother's adventurous life. But when she stows away on a merchant ship, her powers of endurance are stretched to their limit. Then they reach Japan and all her suffering seems worthwhile until she is abducted by Taro Kumashiro's warriors.

In the far north of the country, warlord Kumashiro is intrigued to learn more about the girl who he has been warned about by a seer. There's a clash of cultures and wills, but they're also fighting an instant attraction to each other. 

With her brother desperate to find her and the jealous Lady Reiko equally desperate to kill her, Hannah faces the greatest adventure of her life. And Kumashiro has to choose between love and honour ...

The Scarlet Kimono is an absorbing tale of what happens when two cultures collide...

Hannah Marston wants more from her life than that which her parents have mapped out for her...getting married to a man who's almost old enough to be her father, she would much rather be allowed to travel like her brother Jacob.  So when she discovers that her father has given the go-ahead for the marriage, she decides to run away and stow aboard her brother's ship which will be setting sail to Japan.

But pretty soon she discovers that she's stowed away on the wrong ship from the fleet, Captain Rydon's ship, so she worries for her safety during the voyage but she finds a protector in Hoji, Captain Rydon's loyal servant, who helps her to maintain her disguise as a boy from the rest of the ship's crew.  

In Japan Taro Kumashiro is forewarned by his Sensei that a strange red-haired woman will soon be setting foot on these shores.  So when he hears that some foreign ships have been seen approaching a distant shoreline he decides to head out to see her for himself.

Although Hannah tries to hide from Jacob once they've docked he soon discovers her and is not happy about the situation that they now find themselves in and so he forces her into an arrangement almost as bad as the one she had tried to escape from.  

Late one night Hannah and her female servant are kidnapped and taken to Taro's home miles inland.  At first she's scared as to what he has in store for her but she soon discovers that she's attracted to him and it's pretty clear that the feeling is mutual, even though she assumes he is married as he has a baby son.

Fortunately for Hannah she had been taught some Japanese by Hoji during their time together on the ship, so she's able to communicate with those guarding her, but it still wasn't enough to prepare her for the differences in their cultures or how to handle those who are out to get her.

The romance between Hannah and Taro was a little bit predictable at times but despite this I still found myself drawn to their story wanting to see how it would all play out.  Would Hannah be rescued by Jacob or will she remain in Japan with her captor Taro?  Hannah was a really interesting character, definitely a woman light years ahead of her time, who stood up for what she wanted. 

Having never read any of Christina Courtenay's books before, I'm now really looking forward to reading her next book, The Gilded Fan, which is the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono, which is due out this week. I'd like to thank Jane at Choc-Lit for sending me this book to review. 

No comments:

Post a Comment