I feel so privileged to be able to read Christina Courtenay's newest release! The Jade Lioness is the third installment to her Japanese trilogy, the Kumashiro series, and despite not having read the first two, I was able to pick this up and get through it with ease. Plus, now I want to go back and read the others! I love love love reading books set in exotic locations - as someone who hasn't travelled much but would like to, the beautiful descriptions of places I've never been to really inspires the nomad in me.
The quotation I chose for this review felt so potent for me because a book set in the 1600s should not see women faced with some of the same problems as those of our current day. Women are still sold into marriages, or sexual relationships all over the world, and it is something that we really ought to challenge, especially where it is accepted.
During the throes of civil war in England, Temperance has joined her cousin Nico, an important Dutch trader, and his half Japanese wife Midori, on an incredible trip to Japan. There's only one problem: foreigners are hated, and the traders are confined to a tiny island called Dejima. Foreign women aren't even allowed there, and Midori must pose as a concubine to Nico, whilst Temperance adorns herself in male clothing.
However, Temperance is soon forced into an impossible situation. Haag, one of Nico's traders, realises she is a woman, and attempts to coerce her hand in marriage. With only two weeks to try and work her way out of this dilemma, the claustrophobia of the island becomes too much for Temperance, and she steals a boat to get to a nearby much larger island. What she expects is to get away from her troubles - she doesn't plan on meeting Kazuo, a rugged outcast seeking to restore his father's name.
Returning to the island a week later, Temperance expects to meet him again, though her Puritan conscience wants her to remain away from the temptation he poses. However, she meets a group of outcasts who kidnap her and drag her through the island until she is sold is a concubine. From there, Temperance must make her own fate.
Have you read it? What did you think?