This isn’t a book I normally go for. I like history. When I go to a city I want to know how it came to be. However, I’ve never been interested in Japanese culture, I can’t say why. However, this book was described to me in a slightly different way. It’s a book of a woman sacrificing everything for the good her country. It felt sounded very Mulan. I know it’s a very different country. Okatsu is fiery and head strong, she was too good for the family she had been dealt. She is chosen to rise above her rank and is prepared for a very important mission: to marry the king. Once in the palace she can influence him into making the right decisions when barbarians descend on their land.
Being fiery and head strong, it’s not easy to be submissive and do as she is told. There are traditions and certain ways of doing things. Okatsu is under so much pressure from her new father to move quickly. Within the palace, she can’t move, speak or even blink without someone watching over her. She is surrounded by servants and ladies, all loyal to her Mother in Law. The frustrations I had with the books are her frustrations. I wanted action, the right thing to be done but first there is the tea ceremony.
There is no doubt in my mind that this book is accurate. Lesley Downer has written many books about the culture and some nonfiction books. The book is saturated in history, I find it a bit much. I was confused and lost my place several times. There is a hierarchy and a structure to everything. Servants have different names titles. Royalty have different names. Without a vested interest in Japan in the 1800s, this is a daunting read. If you have a good memory or a basic knowledge of that time, you’ll find a political high steaks read and the young fiery and head strong girl caught in the middle of it.