What's it About?
It's Japan and the year is 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma Clan, in Japan's deep south, the fiery, beautiful and headstrong Okatsu has - like all the clan's women - been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd, and to ride a horse.
But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence. And turns Okatsu’s world upside down.
Chosen by her feudal lord, she has been given a very special role to play. Given a new name - Princess Atsu - and a new destiny, she is the only one who can save the realm. Her journey takes her to Edo Castle, a place so secret that it cannot be marked on any map. There, sequestered in the Women’s Palace - home to three thousand women, and where only one man may enter: the shogun - she seems doomed to live out her days. But beneath the palace's immaculate facade, there are whispers of murders and ghosts. It is here that Atsu must complete her mission and discover one last secret - the secret of the man whose fate is irrevocably linked to hers: the shogun himself . . .
***Sounds good doesn't it? I can tell you it is, in fact, a very good book and absolutely worth a read. I often read books that I can't put down, especially historical novels because they're my favourites but it isn't often that as I read I can picture the scene in my head perfectly. From scenery to characters and even their clothing, Lesley helps paint a perfect picture in this beautiful yet dangerous novel.
I have never before read any Lesley Downer books but I will definitely be looking at reading more. I usually read books based in the Tudor era and therefore Japanese history has never been on my radar. Since reading this book I have been online and the history is incredible, it's little wonder my brother is so into Japan and knows a fair amount about it. Lesley doesn't just research and write but she has lived in Japan, she knows Japan and her books are well based and looked into which is really important to me.
Overall this book is a real 10/10 for me and I shall be passing it on to my brother to see what he thinks as well as recommending it to my book worm friends!
I was kindly supplied with a copy of The Shogun's Queen to read for the purposes of this review. I really enjoyed delving into Atsu's world while my own is so chaotic at the moment! The Shogun's Queen will be released on November 3rd 2016 and will make a fab present for Christmas for any historical novel fans!