Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Jade Lioness” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I am fascinated by this series:

You know almost immediately when you pick up a Courtenay Historical Rom, you’re going to be enchanted by what you find inside the page! She has a way of pulling you into the narrative quite quickly and endearing you to her characters; many of whom have emotional angst or something they need to prove to themselves. She also is one of my favourite historical authors for tying together loose ends, maintaining continuity or by giving us more information about secondary characters.

There were incredible layers of emotional angst percolating throughout the story but it’s how Courtenay made the keen choices to embrace those situations and to use them towards the gain for the reader to walk alongside her characters as they worked through everything together. It’s the strength of finding the courage to be oneself and to embrace differences even in one’s family to find the bridge to unite through forgiveness and patience. Truly this became an uplifting story to read due to how convincing the redemption was for Midori and the rest of her family.

And, of course, I especially was taken by the descriptive details which set this narrative to be illuminated by sweeping arcs of action sequences and the beauty of life on the high seas. I liked the nuances of Japanese culture and the way in which Courtenay infused Midori’s spiritual life into the backdrop of her character’s personality. Everything felt authentically realistic whilst anchouring the story between Japan and England. You could fully find yourself caught in the midst of the 17th Century where nothing was certain nor guaranteed to be right anytime soon. At the height of everything, blessedly there was still slivers of hope of how Midori would find not only true happiness but a passionate partner of whom accepted her unconditionally. A true honour of her upbringing and of finding her own way to unite her past with her present. Now it’s Temperance’s turn to take the spotlight in the series and I can’t wait to go back to Japan where the series began as she makes her mark on how her life is meant to play out.

-quoted from my review of The Gilded Fan

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Jade Lioness
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can an impossible love become possible?

Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 978-1781892374

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Gilded Fan, The Secret Kiss of Darkness

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan

Published by ChocLitUK

on 19th March, 2016

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 320

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan (see also Review)

Book Three: The Jade Lioness

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Kazuo and Temperance:

Kazuo had his own reasons for ducking into shadows and moving about without being noticed – for he was on a quest to clear his father’s name. When he stumbled across Temperance swimming in the bay, he wasn’t sure how his fate had turnt round to bless him with her presence. Likewise, it was Temperance who tookaway the joy of the moment as being one which re-instilled her need to find something positive about travelling around the world to live as a boy – as her identity would spoilt any chance of happiness here, if the truth was let out. Both of them harboured secrets but in the bay they found a way to simply be ‘themselves’ in a way which tempted interest in both to get to know the other better.

Being a ronin, Kazuo was ‘let go’ from society and being a foreigner whose pretending she’s a different gender, Temperance rationalised they each shared something critical in common with each other: they both were not whom they presented to everyone else. This would be the undoing of Temperance, as her outward appearance was something that would fetch a price for her services by those who were not as honourable as Kazuo.

The interesting part of their romance, is how Kazuo and Temperance were drawn to each other. They truly started to fall for each other ‘at first sight’ but it’s how their paths kept entwining together which allowed them to seek out their feelings for each other. They might have come from two different cultures, but for them, they spoke the same language (especially since Temperance learnt Japanese from Midori), had a similar thirst for adventure and were equal partners in all other ways. You could immediately see why they are attracted to each other and could only hope their path would unite together after everything was done.

My Review of The jade lioness:

Re-alighting into Temperance’s life a year after she arrived in Japan, finds the young woman being threatened by a vile proposition which would not only compromise her future but chain her to a sham of a marriage. In many ways, she is repeating a similar history her Aunt Hannah lived herself so many years ago. Both were threatened against their will to marry and both wanted to seek out their own heart’s match; to live a bit freer than their societies would allow and most of all, to be strong enough to circumvent the evils of the world which sought to destroy their spirit. Temperance is living in port, on the only island the Japanese would allow trading and foreigners to land in the 17th Century; it’s alive with commerce and wares, but you gathered the feeling Temperance was growing slightly bored by how confined she was to living life as a ‘boy’ rather than the freedom of movement she once enjoyed.

You can understand how willing a girl like Temperance might become to do something incredibly daring (outside of proper etiquette) to feel a measure of joy at a point in her life where things were feeling as if to suffocate her soul with the worries of a girl caught between cultures, truth and lies. As Temperance made her way into the tucked away bay, you could tell how much the small adventure granted her a moment’s peace of mind. She freely cast herself into the sea, but when she discovered Kazuo nearby, her heart not only sunk momentarily but faltered to know what was the best reaction to have when presented with an observer. How Kazuo handled the encounter was fitting of a charmer who was struck by the beauty of an unexpected woman who captured him body and soul. They had a rendezvous quite out of step with the social norms but as they swam, they also had the joys of speaking without pretense. Something they both relished and enjoyed more than they had let on to each other.

Behind the newfound happiness of meeting Kazuo, Temperance was worried about the threat from Haag; what she hadn’t realised is how he had learnt of her true nature. A man not to be reckoned with for his temper and his ease with violence to gain what he seeks; he also was one to use underhanded means to gain what he wanted. Not the kind of man you’d want to cross but as Temperance tries to devise a plan to circumvent his intentions, she dreams of meeting Kazuo again; despite the difficulties that might place on Midori and Nico. Being a girl with an impulsive mind, Temperance carted herself off to find Kazuo despite knowing he would be off on his own seeking answers about something she was not given details about herself. Whilst finding herself in the bay once more without his presence, one thing she had forgotten to keep mindful about were ‘others’ who could seek her out with reasons of their own. It didn’t surprise me at all she was abducted but thankfully at least for the moment, she had a way of putting distance between herself and Haag. He was truly a vile man; as he was tempting Nico with threats he felt were justified and would serve him the benefit of being allowed her hand in marriage. If anything, he was making it harder on himself to survive his greed and lust.

As fate would have it – Temperance was soon bought and sold as a prized possession; what surprised me was finding her fate and Kazuo’s blending together. Kazuo was in the employ of the man who bought her as he had honed in on the man he presumed had affected the fate of his father and family. Despite caring for Temperance, Kazuo had not intervened on her behalf when she was first taken against her as he was unsure how he could rescue her whilst maintaining his goal to free his family from shame. Temperance had an internal strength which carried her through most of the obstacles in front of her but one thing she could not will herself to accept was being kept by a man without choosing to be with him herself. The title eludes to a beautiful statue made out of jade which Temperance finds in the bedchamber on the night which was meant to determine her fate; instead she was granted a reprieve.

It isn’t understood until the ending chapters why this jade lioness is pivotal and of supreme importance; the clever thing is how this statue acts as the catalyst to free Kazuo’s family. In so doing, he is allowed to make choices himself from a position of freedom he never thought he’d be able to embrace. How this story knits together in the end reminded me so dearly of why I loved reading Hannah and Taro’s love story; in so many ways, Temperance and Kazuo are the next generation who found what Hannah and Taro shared. The beauty too, is how the story hinges of how far someone will go for the ones they love – Courtenay took Temperance and Kazuo on an arduous journey throughout the inland areas of the mainland of Japan; where Temperance and Kazuo finally realised what was most important overall.

The joy for me too, was seeing the continuity withheld as you will recognise certain key characters from all three of the novels in the series. All the fragments become stitched together and in the end, you have one incredibly satisfying trilogy in which to disappear inside. I also liked how there were just dues for the most villainous characters of whom truly made you feel hives on your skin for how rattish they were towards everyone in their path. I think what surprised me the most was the Shogun to be honest! There is a point in the ending chapters where Midori’s brother returns and there is an audience with the Shogun – I truly loved those chapters, because after the difficulties Temperance and Kazuo had faced, the best part was seeing the reactions by those who were in power to determine their fates.

Why I continue to love to be captured by the historical styling of Christina Courtenay:

In this third story of the Kumashiro series, I found myself liking Temperance as much as I had Hannah; both girls had wanted adventure to such a dire level of intensity. They both found themselves trapped living lives which did nothing but aide their discomfort for their surroundings. The interesting bit is how history in their family had a way of repeating itself and how maddening their deceit would become to their families. Temperance similar to Hannah had been charmed by the idea of Japan and of the lifestyle she heard stories of from Midori. She wanted to defy the odds and make Japan her home; similar of course to Hannah, except it was not Hannah’s first choice but the choice she made out of love. In this, Courtenay has a compelling way of drawing you further into the 17th Century of Japan – following the women who loved a beguiling country and were frustrated by the customs, traditions and regulations of a country they were enchanted by.

I think the most enjoyable part is reading a story by a writer who spent a considerable amount of time in the country they’re writing about as I noticed the Kumashiro series and my beloved samurai mystery series (by Susan Spann) share something in common: they both have a strong depth of realism and a foundation of an authentic narrative voice. I love being able to read stories set elsewhere from my own country and to curl up inside a Romance involving a cross-cultural relationship. The credit here is how Courtenay fuses you into the drama of her characters but also, allows them the benefit of frustrating you a bit as they are so fiercely independent, you do worry if they will find their way out of their troubles!

I love how this series was written – as each novel led into the next, and there are carry-over bits stemming from the first novel into the second and third, as well. You can tell they are all inter-connected but there are just enough surprises to keep you curious for the ‘next chapter’ or in this instance, there is still hope for another story. I am not sure if there will be, but Courtenay has given us a wonderful trilogy which will not soon leave our hearts nor our minds!

Reading Habit:

As I have been previously mentioning on a few of my recent reviews, I have come to appreciate listening to #SlackerRadio with my headphones as I am reading. Mostly as the atmosphere of the music I am plugging into is happily in sync with my selections in both Fiction and Non-Fiction worlds. For this third novel in the series, I opted to listen to the Hawaiian station as I was seeking to find an International station which might suit the narrative whilst giving the impression I was elsewhere altogether. I liked the tone of the selections on this station but also, the lightness of the songs – they had a warmth of their own to match well with the increasing drama of The Jade Lioness.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

oh dear my,… could there be another?

I am uncertain if the Kumashiro series is meant to continue – but there was ample room for growth if there were inspirations for another installment or a second trilogy, even! I almost wish there were a bit more to the story; especially as I had foresaid, I was most surprised by the Shogun and had wondered if this was a foreshadow of further changes coming lateron? There was such a strong formation of ties throughout Japan, you could easily see how the saga could continue but also, if there were certain changes arriving in the country itself about movement of foreigners, than you could see how interesting things could become in the next stories of the series? OR even if the relatives left behind in England came to Japan or vice versa if the Japanese extension of the family travelled back to visit… personally, I’d like to see more installments set in Japan, as that was the best joy for me as reader was seeing how Ms Courtenay envisioned everything there whilst pulling together the two cultures which became united in the end.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This book review is courtesy of:

ChocLitUK Reviewer Badge by ChocLitUK.Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

In case you’ve missed my ChocLit readings:

Please follow the threads through #ChocLitSaturdays!

And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle (recently upated!)

to see which stories I fancy to devour next!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My first ChocLit readings of the New Year:

Reading ChocLit is a cuppa comfort & joy. You get to ‘return home’ to the stories penned in the beauty of the Romantic genres you love to devour with characters who inspire you & give you such a lift of joy to meet.

*Part of my focus on serial ChocLit Fiction!*

To Turn Full Circle | No. 1 of the Emma series | by Linda Mitchelmore (see Review)

– as my ‘Saturday’ was spent giving joy to someone who did not expect to receive a welcoming visit from people he knew, I wasn’t able to properly finish this lovely novel until Wednesday. Ergo, I decided to back-date this to ‘Saturday’ as that was the original day I had intended to curl inside this novel to coincide with our second #ChocLitSaturday chat of the New Year. I’ve been in a bit of a rut reading wise and ChocLit novels have a way of pulling me back inside the joy of reading which is why I pulled this off my shelf and happily devoured it!

 The Girl in the Painting | No. 2 of the Rossetti Mysteries | by Kirsty Ferry (see Review)

– as I received such a wicked lovely #bookmail surprise from ChocLit – I decided to insert this review ahead of my selections of continuing through two previous series which have enchanted my heart & mind! I hadn’t realised by doing so I would be reading this novel a few days ‘ahead’ of it’s #PubDay! How smashingly wicked, eh!? I was so overjoyed to receive this ChocLit novel – talk about a sweet bookish surprise, eh!? The chocolate which was sent along with it was #beyondyum, too! This is one of the few times I’ve been able to receive a #newbook ahead or by it’s #PubDay (for ChocLitUK) – which is why I couldn’t help but *devour!* the novel as soon as I rescued it from it’s bubbler!

The Penny Bangle | No. 3 of the Charton Minster series | by Margaret James (see Review)

– as an aside, I was wicked happy finding out Ms James *loves!* Fairy Tales as much as I do! I still remember going to the theater to see ‘Beauty and the Beast’ the anime film where one of my most beloved British actresses (Angela Lansbury) portrayed Mrs Potts! Yes, I’m that old! lol I was just a girl, and the magic of the story was so lifting of spirit and of how wicked brilliant love can conquer so many things,.. it’s such a beautiful story, truly. I know this new version is a smidge darker than the first, but oh! I am so very excited about my screening – lovely to share such a heap of joy with an author whose given me so many enjoyable hours curled up inside her historical series, too! (see also this review of a sequel author’s spin on the classic tale!)

The Lost Girl | by Liz Harris (see Review)

– I hadn’t expected such a guttingly realistic story-line where you feel at one point in the narrative there might not be a way for either of the leads to walk away from this with an ending you can handle reading.

The Gilded Fan | No. 2 of the Kumashiro series | by Christina Courtenay (see Review)

– I had a special treat recently being able to continue this lovely series a year after I started reading it! I was so caught by the immersive depth of the opening bridge of this saga, it was truly a wicked lovely moment to be able to return to a setting and time I very much felt like I hadn’t taken a leave of absence from reading.

The Jade Lioness | No. 3 of the Kumashiro series | by Christina Courtenay

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

IF you love chatting about Romance novels, #amwriting adventures and being in a wicked good circle of writers and readers joyfully sharing their writerly & bookish lives, I invite you to join us for #ChocLitSaturday which is an extension of my reviews & guest features on behalf of ChocLitUK! All are welcome! Visit @ChocLitSaturday for more details! Dates are announced for our chats in MAY! Topics will be shared mid-week ahead of the chats!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Book Covers for “The Scarlet Kimono”, “The Gilded Fan” and “The Jade Lioness” were provided by the author Christina Courtenay and used with permission. Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopses and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Quote from “The Gilded Fan” selected by Jorie and is used with permission of the publisher ChocLitUK. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: ChocLitSaturdays Banner (Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo) and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, World Religions

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