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Blossoms and Shadows [Kindle Edition]

Lian Hearn
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £4.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

From the author of the multi-million-copy selling Otori series, Blossoms and Shadows is a compelling tale of women and men, love and war, and the rise of a nation.

It is Japan, 1857. The age of the Samurai is ending and a new Japan is about to be born. For those caught in the middle the times are unsure and turbulent, as new beliefs clash with long-held traditions.

Tsuru is a young woman with a secret ambition to become a doctor. Caught up in the politics of these unstable times, she will be forced to make some difficult choices. And when war comes, Tsuru's struggle to be treated as an equal will take her onto the battlefields…

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Product Description


'A thoroughly researched historical novel, and an important book' (bookgroupinfo)

From the Back Cover

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, its government is crumbling and revolution is building. The age of the samurai is ending and in its place a new Japan will be born. Into this turmoil steps a young woman. Despite her secret ambition to become a doctor, Tsuru still expects to marry a man of her father's choosing, but her life is overtaken by the beliefs of the new age. Surrounded by young men, fighting for their Emperor to expel the foreigners, and caught up in the politics of these turbulent times, she will be forced to make some difficult choices. When war comes, Tsuru's struggle to be treated as an equal will take her onto the battlefields... Blossoms and Shadows is a compelling and beautiful tale of love and war, women and me, and the rise of modern Japan.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 685 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857382977
  • Publisher: Quercus (28 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #136,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Lian Hearn studied modern languages at Oxford University and worked as a film critic and arts editor in London before settling in Australia. A lifelong interest in Japan led to the study of the Japanese language, many trips to Japan, and culminated in the Tales of the Otori series. The books in the series have been sold into 36 countries and have been world wide best sellers.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
This novel is set in Japan, in the final years (1857-67) of the Tokugawa regime. This was a turbulent period (immediately before the Meiji Restoration of 1868) when Japan's feudal society was under pressure both internally (as a consequence of famine, epidemic and feudal wars) and externally (from nations of the west).

The novel opens in 1857, and involves both fictional and historical characters. Our narrator is the fictional Tsuru, a young woman who is a member of a doctor's family. Because doctors were generally an exception to the rigid class structures then in place, Tsuru had more opportunities to observe and participate in events than would usually have been the case for a woman. This makes her an interesting narrator of the events that unfold.

`These are the men my story is about. It is they who broke down the old world and reformed the nation I now live in, with their dreams and delusions, their courage and stupidity, their unexpected successes and their painful failures.'

We first meet Tsuru on the day of her sister's wedding, and it quickly becomes clear that Tsuru sees a different role for herself: one that is not in any sense traditional. Tsuru dreams of practising medicine, as an equal, alongside her father and then her husband. Tsuru's story is interesting, but it is the story of Japan at this time that most held my interest.

There is a lot of historical detail in this novel and, for me at least, the characters became secondary to the events. This made reading the novel a bit of a challenge at times: there are a lot of different characters involved and it wasn't always easy to remember where each one fitted into the narrative.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, more so than The Tales of the Otori series. It's a long book, but I felt that it warranted the number of pages contained and it never felt tedious in my opinion.

However, I agree with the other reviews that there are too many characters going in and out of the story which makes it confusing. The story is peppered with a great amount of historical and cultural information, but I loved this as I love history and I also love Japan. It's a must read for a history buff or a lover of Japan. The excellent story more than makes up for any flaws.

I also enjoyed the writer's focus on gender differences at that time in Japan. I don't want to give the plot away so I will say no more.

I'm looking forward to Lian Hearn's next book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Japanese history 31 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read this if you enjoy recent japanese history, but not really for its qualities as a novel. There was a good running story line that was imaginative and held the plot together, but the historical aspects were quite hard to follow, particularly with the multiple japanese location and character names. I guess it would be difficult to do the period justice without this detail, but it made the book rather disjointed and a bit heavy going. Lian Hearn can't be faulted for her depth of research though, and the writing is good quality as always.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Otori 2 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
By the same author as the Otori series. Not the same as this is an historical novel set around the time of the Meiji restoration. It is a good book from which you can learn about a period of Japanese history with which you may not be familiar but explains many of the attitudes of the Japanese hierarchy which led, in many ways, to WW2. However I think the author struggles with writing historical figures and there is a feeling that she is very constrained by the history. You never quite buy-in to any of the characters in terms of caring about them, excepting perhaps the main female character. However you sometimes feel her life is shaped by having to be in a particular place so that the historical event there can be written about, rather than because she actually lived a life. Worth a read, but not her best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant 25 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Had read the tales of the Otori and wanted more from the same author. This is different more historical fiction than tale less romance more facts but totally enjoyable. The historical background blends very well with the fictional characters. I also enjoyed all the Japanese-ness of the writing whereby the author included many words of Japanese a little hard to read at times but all the more enjoyable. At some point I noticed the narrative slowing down but when I checked I was the last few pages. So sad to have finished it now.
If Lian Hearn captured you with her style in the Otori tales and you have an interest in Japanese history then this book is for you.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed several Lian Hearn novels this one came as a huge disappointment. The writing is characteristically detailed but for me painfully slow and far, far too long. I found it like reading a tedious diary, I soldiered on as I hate to 'give up' on any book but I was SO glad to reach the end.
My wife however has been reading it and really liking it which just goes to show book reviews aren't really much help! - I think though this is perhaps one for the ladies!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more shadows than blossoms 13 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found it just a bit more difficult to get into.Some passages were very good but didn't lead anywhere.Her other books were exciting .
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by Patricia Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting read
Published 8 months ago by M Billington
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely love her series of books
I absolutely love her series of books, it is a great subject written about so well for adults or teens. The only problem that I have is I have read them all and want more!
Published 9 months ago by reviewmum1
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters and tied to facts.
Not at the level of her excellent previous novels in spite of her very good proposition: a woman in last century Japan who tries out being a man in a changing world.
Published 19 months ago by MS V Rosenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
this whole series is written for children but fully engages the adult reader. I could not put it down and ordered the next book in the series immediately.
Published 21 months ago by bev 19
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
I love all Lian Hearn books and this is no different, full of the wonderful skilled writing and places you can only dream of it is a beautiful world filled with divine characters... Read more
Published on 14 Sept. 2013 by Zac Deeks
2.0 out of 5 stars Overcrowded plot
I liked the Otori trilogy and bought this expecting more of the same. It's written in her usual, beautiful style but I did not care about the protagonists as much because the plot... Read more
Published on 21 July 2013 by Rei7han
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed his other books
havent read it, bought it for a friend who bought me the same book! I am eager to read this
Published on 4 Jan. 2013 by Jackie Fealey
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