This is the sequel to Scarlet Kimono. I think Scarlet Kimono is my favorite story still by Courtenay, mainly because of the adventure and the exotic setting, but this is just as well-written and has to be my favorite heroine.
Midori's parents are dead and her own country is exiling half-breeds like her. She's half Japanese, half foreigner, and during the time this book takes place, they were exiling all Christians whether they practiced or not, including those of Japanese blood, and though Midori doesn't practice Christianity, she must leave to save her life.
And this is why she runs into a group of seamen at camp and ends up in a sword fight. This is why she meets Nicco, the captain of a trading ship. This girl is imprisoned, put on a ship full of horny, vengeful men, drugged in an opium den, and yet still lands with dignity and grace in Plymouth England...where she has to suddenly convert to Puritan religion and customs.
Majority of us would have broke down at some point, but Midori handles everything life throws at her. She doesn't need a man. She proves time and time again she can do just fine without Nicco, the captain who has stolen her heart. Matter of fact, she turns him down at first.
But if he loves her, must must work for her, he must restore his honor as he lost it at some point in her eyes...and I'm not revealing a thing more.
The historical is rich and spot-on. The war with King Charles is ongoing throughout the last half of the novel and though I'm not overly fond of England's wars (Sorry, England. And I think this is why I prefer Scarlet Kimono.) and normally I wouldn't care less who won or not, I could really feel this little town, Midori's family included, really banding together. They have a lot of heart. Midori has a lot of heart. She runs out into BATTLE. I mean, I LOVE this chick.
I didn't think the romance was Courtenay's strongest, but I still enjoyed this story. It's an adventure tale following an amazing young woman who faces more in the span of a few years then many of us do in a lifetime. There's also a strong moral, more than one actually. Family is important, protecting them is important. Sometimes you must do what's right for them. And words...words can have more effect on people than you realize.
Five stars. I bought this on Kindle.