Book Review : The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay

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REVIEW

I have always enjoyed Christina Courtenay’s books and this one was no exception. An adventure across continents, where different cultures meet, we follow Midori and Nico as they set sail from Japan to England.

Midori was a great character with mixed heritage, a Japanese father and an English mother, she could wield a sword as good as any man, if not better. She was fiercely independent and determined to deal honourably with the situation that forced her to escape from her beloved Japan and seek refuge with her English family in Plymouth.

Nico, captain of the ship that carried Midori to England, was simply delicious. A true leader, strong and well respected, fair and with a gentler side when needed. His meeting with Midori presented itself with all sorts of problems from the start and took him not only to physical places he had no intention of going, but to emotional places which he had long since buried.

Set in the 1600’s, with the English Civil War as a backdrop, there was lots of action and adventure in this book, together with a healthy dose of romance, I really enjoyed spending time with these characters.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

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…

AUTHOR LINKS

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www.christinacourtenay.com

Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay

Publishers : ChocLitUK

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An Audience with an Author … Christina Courtenay

I am delighted to have Award Winning ChocLit author, Christina Courtenay with me today. I’ve always loved Christina’s books and her latest The Gilded Fan was no exception. I asked Christina if she could talk about the Far East influence.

TheGILDED_FAN_frontThe Gilded Fan is the sequel to my novel The Scarlet Kimono (although it can be read as a stand-alone), and both these stories were inspired by the Far East in general and Japan in particular.  It’s a fascinating part of the world and whenever I’m lucky enough to go there, I fall in love with it all over again.

I can’t really explain why I like it so much and it wasn’t something that happened overnight.  In fact, the first time I went to Japan I cried for days because I didn’t want to be there!  That may sound crazy, but if you consider that I was a teenager at the time (just turned sixteen) and had left behind my very first serious boyfriend in order to move with my family halfway across the world, it might be more understandable.  As it happened, I soon forgot all about him.  The three years I lived in Tokyo turned out to be the best of my life!

Looking back, I think the Japanese culture slowly seeped into me and I began to appreciate all the great things about it.  Most of all, it’s a beautiful place steeped in history – not the skyscrapers perhaps, but the little traditional buildings squeezed in between them, the parks, the temples and the shops and markets.  Even food is always displayed in an attractive way, tempting you to eat far too much!

So this then is the country in which the heroine of The Gilded Fan, Midori, has grown up.  Imagine her feelings when she has to leave it behind and travel back to Europe (my journey in reverse, you might say).  It’s not something she wants to do, but she has no choice – it’s either leave Japan or die.  I totally empathised with her as I didn’t have much choice either, but I didn’t have to travel alone!  It’s lucky for Midori that she’s a lot more stoical than I was and that she meets a sea captain willing to protect her …

One thing this story doesn’t have is a dog – my characters usually always have one as I love them myself, but for this particular story it wasn’t practicable for various reasons.  We, on the other hand, were crazy enough to bring our dog along when we moved to Japan.  A big rough collie, he looked so much like Lassie that whenever we walked him we were stopped by people thinking he was the canine movie star.  He took it all in his stride (he probably thought he deserved all the adulation) and didn’t mind being called Lassie.  And I never let on either, as my grasp of the Japanese language wasn’t up to it.  So there may be people over there who think they’ve met an icon, who knows? 🙂

Many thanks for having me as your guest, Sue!

Blurb:-

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…

Links for Christina Courtenay

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Available in ebook and paperback format AMAZON UK link  and AMAZON.COM link

Website www.christinacourtenay.com

Facebook : christina.courtenay.9

Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay

Choclit Publishers

Got A #Kindle? Here Are My 5 Star Reviews This Year

Not sure what to download to your e-reader? Well, here are the books that got a 5 star review from me this year, together with a few I would highly recommend (click on the book cover for link to Amazon) …

My 5 Star Reviews of 2012

Never Coming Home

Never Coming Home

Sophie’s Turn

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Devils With Wings, Silk Drop

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Devils With Wings, Frozen Sun

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Shades of Appley Green

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Highly Recommend

The Silent Touch of Shadows

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Taking Charge

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Night Watcher

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The Wind Weeps

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Passenger 13 (a novella)

Passenger 13

How Do You Voodoo? (a novella)

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Thank you all for your support of my blog this year – much appreciated

Happy new year everyone and happy reading

Marry In Haste by Christina Courtenay

‘I need to marry, and I need to marry at once’ 

When James, Viscount Demarr confides in an acquaintance at a ball one evening, he has no idea that the potential solution to his problems stands so close at hand …
Amelia Ravenscroft is the granddaughter of a earl and is desperate to escape her aunt’s home where she has endured a life of drudgery, whilst fighting off the increasingly bold advances of her lecherous cousin. She boldly proposes a marriage of convenience. 

And Amelia soon proves herself a perfect fit for the role of Lady Demarr. But James has doubts and his blossoming feelings are blighted by suspicions regarding Amelia’s past. 
Will they find, all too painfully, that if you marry in haste you repent at leisure?

My Thoughts

This novella has all the ingredients I enjoy in a book; romance, adventure and tension. For a book of 117 pages there is quite a lot going on, but it all blends in so easily and effortlessly that you just get drawn into it.  There is the main story of James and Amelia but there is also more than one sub-plot running throughout.

I liked Amelia’s determination and the fact that she wasn’t a push-over and James although not perfect, was a great hero.

I always enjoy Christina Courtenay’s writing style and this was no exception – I felt transported into the era and caught up in all the happenings.  A thoroughly good read, one which I would quite happily have read as a full length novel.

Webpage http://christinacourtenay.com/

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/christina.courtenay.9?fref=ts

Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay

Published by Choc Lit Publishing : http://www.choclitpublishing.com/

Marry In Haste is available to purchase as an e-book on Amazon.co.uk  …. HERE

The Silent Touch of Shadows – Christina Courtenay

What will it take to put the past to rest? Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery. Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference? A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent. Christina Courtenay won the 2012 Best Historical Romantic novel of the year award (RoNA) for her novel, Highland Storms.

My Thoughts

The Silent Touch of Shadows is two love stories set hundreds of years apart but which overlap and weave themselves together seemlessly.  The present slips into the past and the past slides its way into the present with little effort.

I liked the way the story nipped back and forth and I was able to link up the events happening in the past to those happening in the present day.  I was initially concerned that this would be confusing but it certainly wasn’t the case.

The stories told brought different feelings at different times, sadness and despair, hope and happiness with an added bit of mystery and intrigue.  I think Sibell and Roger’s story will stay with me for a long time.

Links for Christina Courtenay

Blog http://christinacourtenay.com/?page_id=278

Website http://christinacourtenay.com/

Twitter @PiaCCourtenay

Amazon link here 

Thank you ChocLit for sending me a review copy