Japan, 1857. For centuries Japan has been on its own; isolated by choice from the rest of the world. But the Western powers are now at its shores demanding to be let in, the government is crumbling and revolution is building. The age of the samurai is ending and in its place a new Japan will be born.
A young woman is readying herself for marriage in this, the most tumultuous period of her nation's history. The daughter of a doctor, Tsuru has been working alongside him and learning the ways of medicine all her life. When her father allows her to marry the man she loves - a fellow doctor - she believes her life will be all she's dreamed it could be. Happily married, working amongst men as an equal.
But Japanese society does not work this way. The men of the times - boys she's known since childhood - are determined to expel the foreigners, using violence and whatever else they need to make their message heard. The women are expected to be hidden at home, or behind the paper walls of the tea houses. Tsuru is far too able to accept this and she is drawn into a shadowy world of subversion, political intrigue and a dangerous love. In time, she is working on the battlefields, alongside men, to care for the wounded.
Blossoms and Shadows is a compelling tale of love and war, women and men, and the rise of modern Japan. It shines a brilliant light on a time in history that few have known about until now, though the change it brought continues to ripple around the world.
©2011 Quercus (P)2011 Quercus
This book was alright... I have read other books from the narrator before such as across the nightingale floor which in my opinion was much better. I struggled with this book and all the changes in storylines and too many characters and often felt lost and wasn't sure what was going on. Tsuru was by far the best character but again wasn't always sure about the character... Were they transgender? Or they just liked wearing boy clothes... That was never brought up again after that section of the story was finished, although we head from Tsuru again, massive parts of her story line before were not mentioned
I liked the story but wouldn't listen again.
This was an enjoyable listen for me and I have rated it with four stars, partly for the sheer effort and time that must have gone into the research and writing of it. I select novels for their length and potential to absorb me in their story, thusly, i have listened to several novels of an oriental flavour, or by japanese authors and have never been disappointed. The only difficulty i had had with this novel was my inability to keep track of, and relate to the many various characters. This may be down to the fact that I was driving for the duration but whatever the reason, i was unable to feel compassion for, and relate to fifty % of its variously flavoured characters. That being said, this is still a wonderful body of work by an auther that has clearly put her heart and soul into its creation. Despite my own shortfalls, I still found the years falling away and another time and place trying to draw me in to its seductive embrace and I am filled with regret that it didn't quite succeed on this occasion. In conclusion, let me just say that I am filled with admiration for Lian, and look forward keenly for her next novel. MangoWriter.
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