Release day: Jade Lioness
Today is the official release of The Jade Lioness by Christina Courtenay (paperback and ebook, Choc Lit). Here’s the blurb:
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?
Christina dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:
If you have travelled halfway across the world in search of adventure in the exotic empire of Japan, being confined to a tiny man-made island in the port of Nagasaki is a sad let-down. At least, it is to the 17th century heroine of The Jade Lioness, Temperance Marston. Being a resourceful young lady, however, she takes matters into her own hands and escapes for a while. She “borrows” a row boat and heads up the coast under cover of darkness, intending only to go for a swim in a secluded bay. What she doesn’t count on is meeting anyone, especially not a handsome ronin (outlaw). Kazuo in his turn never expected to find a white-haired sea sprite by the coast. He’s on a mission to clear his family’s name, but how can he resist spending time with Temperance first? Fate has decreed that they should meet–can it also help them stay together? Most people who visit Nagasaki today do so to see the Atomic Bomb Museum, honouring those who lost their lives when the second atomic bomb destroyed most of the city at the end of World War II. But the town’s history and importance goes back a lot further. When I was lucky enough to go there, I saw the museum of course, but I also went to the site of the former Dutch “factory”, or trading post, on the island of Dejima. During centuries past, this site was separated from the mainland by a small canal and reached via a bridge, but these days it is landlocked and within the city itself (although I believe there are plans to surround it with water once again soon). It was the only place where foreigners were allowed to stay when they came to trade with the Japanese and I wanted to use it as the setting for my story. It’s absolutely fascinating, with houses reconstructed to look as they would have done back then, and I was able to imagine just how constrained Temperance would have felt. If I’d been her, I would have tried to escape too!