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The Scarlet Kimono Paperback – 1 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Choc Lit (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906931291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906931292
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christina Courtenay lives in Herefordshire and is married with two children. Although born in England, she is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan and she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East and other parts of the world.

Christina is a former Chairman of the Romantic Novelists' Association and has won several of their prizes - the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001, the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006 and the RoNA for Best Historical in 2012 and 2014 (see below).

Her debut novel Trade Winds, a historical romance and adventure story, was short-listed for the Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction 2011. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, received the Best Historical Fiction prize for the Big Red Read 2011. Her novels Highland Storms and The Gilded Fan both won the RoNA (Romantic Novelists Association Award) for Best Historical Romantic Novel (Highland Storms in 2012 and The Gilded Fan in 2014), while The Silent Touch of Shadows (time slip) won the Festival of Romance award for Best Historical in 2013.

Christina also writes contemporary YA and New England Rocks was shortlisted for the RoNAs in the YA category in 2014. (The second book in the series, New England Crush, was published under a different name - Pia Fenton.)

As well as her novels, Christina has had four Regency novellas published, all available in Large Print and as ebooks.

Her hobbies include genealogy, archaeology (the armchair variety), listening to loud rock music and collecting things. She loves dogs, reading and chocolate.

Product Description


Winner of The Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award 2011. Short-listed for the Festival of Romance Best Historical Read Award 2011. --Publisher

~~Courtenay has clearly done her homework on Japan in the early seventeenth century and this shines through in Taro's narrative at the start, and the narrative once Hannah reaches Japan and has to learn all about its culture, language and people. It's sure to whet your appetite for more novels set here. I only wish there had been a map of Japan included with the places Hannah and Taro inhabit and travel to marked, as this would give the reader a clearer sense of Japan's geography. The Scarlet Kimono is definitely a cut above your average romance novel: although it might be predictable and a bit far-fetched at times, it is completely absorbing from start to finish and I hope other readers will be swept along by its passionate characters and exciting story as much as I was. ~~ --The Bookbag

~~Set in 17th century Japan, Christina Courtenay's second historical romance for Choc Lit, The Scarlet Kimono, is a remarkable love story that is exciting, beguiling and as impossible to put down as it is hard to forget!~~ --Single Titles

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By lucie Wheeler on 24 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the second book I have read by Christina Courtenay, the first being her debut novel, Trade Winds.

I really enjoyed this book. Unfortunately, I read this book during a very busy time, so it was read in short bursts which hindered me, a little, with the reading of it. However, saying that, I did find myself making time to read this, as I was enjoying it so much; especially the latter half of the book.

The story is about a young girl, Hannah Marston, who lives in Plymouth, England, with her family. She is betrothed to a man whom she despises and feels like the runt of the litter. When things seem like they can't get any worse, she overhears her father speaking to her brother, about a voyage on one of his ships, to Japan. She decides to stow herself onboard to get away from everything.

But things do not go to plan when she realises she is onboard the wrong ship. Luckily, she is allowed to stay onboard and she becomes a worker, cooking for the crew. This is where she meets Hoji-san.

When they arrive in Japan, Hannah is kidnapped by Taro Kumashiro, a very powerful warlord, who has been warned of her arrival by Yanagihara, his Sensei. She was seen as being a threat.

As the story progresses, Hannah and Taro's relationship develops, and we see that maybe she is no longer seen as the prisoner she once was. With conflicts from Taro's sister in law, Lady Reiko, and a strong clash with culture and will, can these two ever be more than English prisoner and Japanese warlord?

A very well written book that has strong, believable characters who are easily identified with. Christina obviously has a love of Japan, and it shows well throughout the book. She describes the difference in cultures and countries very well, and makes the story jump off the page, bringing it to life.

Another great book by a talented author. I look forward to her next one.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By YorkshireMores on 8 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not one for historicals. Either I know enough about the period to get annoyed by inaccuracies, or I am simply not interested. However, this was not just an historical, but a travelogue on ancient Japan and I loved the details; the descriptions of the clothing and the food (made me hungry for sushi), the houses and the culture clash when East meets West for the first time ever, gave the book a rich feel. It took me a while to warm to Taro, I found him a bit chilly at first, but I soon warmed to him when he tried everything he could to make his wife love him. Hannah was feisty and stood up for herself, unlike a lot of historical heroines who wait to be saved by a man all the time (another reason I rarely read them).

This was a very different kind of read, and I finished the book knowing more about a subject than when I started - which is always a plus in my book. A great culture-clash romance.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lally on 1 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This totally involving and convincing story begins in the early 17th century when a Japanese warlord's seer warns him a red-headed, blue-eyed woman is a threat to him. She's also on her way to Japan.

Back in England, Hannah Marston is about to be forced into an arranged marriage with a disagreeable old widower, so she disguises herself as a boy and stows away on a ship bound for the Far East. On board, she is taught Japanese by the ship's cook, and when she arrives in the trading port of Hirado she is more than ready to be fascinated by this strange new land and its people.

She didn't envisage falling in love, but when warlord Taro Kumashiro's soldiers abduct her and take her to Taro's fortress in a wild part of the country, she is both terrified of and intrigued by him. She's determined not to show her fear, and although Taro senses this fear he is impressed by her courage. He's also impressed by her intelligence and her kindness towards his motherless little son. As they meet and talk in the evenings, they are drawn to each other and find themselves falling in love.

This novel offers so many romantic treats. Hannah is a lovely heroine who can't fail to enchant and engage the reader, who goes on an epic journey with the young English girl. Taro is gorgeous, a perfect romantic hero who is charismatic, powerful, handsome and clever, but also kind and generous. There are some wonderfully sensual and erotic moments in this story and, although Taro and Hannah are an unlikely couple, the reader can't help being touched by their devotion to each other, and wanting them to find happiness together.

The writing is excellent. It's fluent and highly readable without being over-descriptive.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Eastman VINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book. Having thoroughly enjoyed Christina's debut novel, Trade Winds, I was really looking forward to reading The Scarlet Kimono and, happily, it exceeded my expectations.

Christina is an incredibly versatile writer. She switches effortlessly from describing 17th Century life in a samurai daimyo or lord's castle in Northern Japan to English family life, and from the bustle of a busy port, be it Plymouth in England or Hirado in Japan, to covering life on board a merchant sailing vessel in between. Her attention to detail is incredible and, as a result, I felt as if I were right in the middle of the action, shadowing the characters, which is where I hope every book will take me.

As for the characters, Taro Kumashiro is an unusual romantic hero at first sight but he's also irresistible: a powerful Japanese warrior lord in command of thousands of men, who is honourable, fierce, brave and loyal, but also fair, deeply intelligent and attractive. His sensei or adviser, Yanagihara, is a wonderful creation, who imparts a sense of foreboding when he sees Hannah's approach in a vision but is also a calming centre for Taro and gave this reader a real insight into Japanese philosophy on life and fate.

As for the heroine, Hannah Marston is a young English girl, who has impulsively stowed aboard one of her father's ships rather than be forced into a loveless arranged marriage. She's headstrong and wilful but also intelligent, kind and compassionate. She has an openness and willingness to learn that will not only help her as she adjusts to life at sea but also prepare her to fully experience a new country, its people and culture in contrast to her fellow countrymen.
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