The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer book review and Japanese Tea Ceremony post

the-shoguns-queen

The Shogun’s Queen written by Lesley Downer, publisher Corgi, is available now in ebook and hardcover and FROM 27th July 2017 the novel will be available in paperback format.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2thjxQ2

Product Details (as per amazon page)

The year is 1853, and a young Japanese girl’s world is about to be turned upside down.

When black ships carrying barbarians arrive on the shores of Japan, the Satsuma clan’s way of life is threatened. But it’s not just the samurai who must come together to fight: the beautiful, headstrong Okatsu is also given a new destiny by her feudal lord – to save the realm.

Armed only with a new name, Princess Atsu, as she is now known, journeys to the women’s palace of Edo Castle, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. Behind the palace’s immaculate façade, amid rumours of murder and whispers of ghosts, Atsu must uncover the secret of the man whose fate, it seems, is irrevocably linked to hers – the shogun himself – if she is to rescue her people . . .

Lesley Downer The Shogun's Queen blog tour 1

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of the paperback of The Shogun’s Queen.  I reviewed a copy of this novel back in October last year and I’m happy to reblog my review today.

My Review

This was such an epic story that sent my emotions soaring high and dramatically cascading low.  I was enchanted by the author Lesley Downer’s beautiful words describing a colourful world.  I felt instantly transported to a land far, far away to a time where legends and rituals were significant and paramount.  To a time when the unknown were feared.  A time when sacrifices had to be made for the sake of the countries survival.

The Shogun’s Queen is a fictional novel based on events in Japanese history.  Young Okatsu with her beauty, knowledge and courage has been given a task like no other.  At the tender age of 17 Okatsu has been given a mission, a mission that seems almost impossible but none the less she has no option but to try.  Okatsu must leave her family, her village and the love of her life.  A tumultuous journey lies ahead for Atsu, as she is now formerly known and her destiny is shrouded with secrets, political upheaval and death.

The torment that Okatsu faces saying goodbye to her love is so heartbreaking but more heartbreak is to come.  I could hardly read the words with the tears falling.  The Shogun’s Queen story gripped me and left me intrigued all the way through and has left me feeling quite emotional and bereft at the end.  I completely adored this novel and would highly recommend it.  A stunning historical romance of sacrifices and love.  5/5*

japanese word tea

I was fascinated to learn of the culture of Japan in this novel, especially the tea ceremonies.  The author, Lesley Downer, has kindly written a short post for my blog on the art of Japanese tea ceremony.

 

You can connect with Lesley Downer at the following pages:

Website:  http://www.lesleydowner.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/LesleyDowner

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLesleyDowner/

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Not Your Average Nurse by Maggie Groff book review

not your average nurse

Not Your Average Nurse written by Maggie Groff, publisher Corgi/Transworld Digital is available NOW in ebook, paperback and audio download format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

‘Over time, I nursed victims of war, the posh, the poor, the famous and the infamous… Oh, the stories I can tell!’

To a young girl the life of a nurse sounds exciting, but with long hours and short shrift it’s never easy. So when Maggie Groff embarks on her training at London’s King’s College Hospital she must quickly get to grips with a demanding career. It’s sink or swim.

From the watchful gaze of stern sisters and the trials of nursing on a poor south-east London housing estate, to the explosive dramas of staff health checks at sophisticated Selfridges, Maggie shares warm and witty stories of mistakes and mayhem, tea and sympathy, and the life-affirming moments that make it all worthwhile.

Played out against the march of feminism and fashion, IRA bombings and the iconic music and movies of almost half a century ago, Not Your Average Nurse is a delightful romp through time.

NYAN BlogTour Poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Maggie Groff’s Not Your Average Nurse.  I don’t normally like biographies but Not Your Average Nurse was such an insightful, entertaining book that I am so pleased I have had the pleasure to read.

This is a true story based on real life experiences of young Maggie, who at 17 decided she wanted to give up her studying at school and enrol as a Student Nurse.  The year is 1970 and the world was still struggling to cope with women in the workplace but Maggie didn’t have dreams of settling down and finding a husband, she had dreams of becoming a writer but in the meantime nursing would do.  Maggie’s stop-gap nursing career was to span nearly two decades.  The skills Maggie learnt from nursing were to put her in good stead for the new adventures she was to endure in her life.

This remarkable story was written with such honesty by Maggie Groff, she didn’t leave anything out and at times her anecdotes were shocking and uncharacteristically funny.  There were scenes that I couldn’t quite believe and I laughed so hard at them, life’s accidentally funny moments are just priceless!  Pure joy from the wonders of life and all it’s glorious array of people.  Sadly, as in real life Maggie faced many traumatic and gut wrenching moments and when tragedy stuck too close to home Maggie’s skills from nursing were now needed imperatively.  One minute I was crying with laughter, the next my heart was breaking and there were many tears of sadness.  Starting your career at the beginning of  a pivotal time with NHS reforms must have been quite difficult at times but also the hope of new beginnings and the solidarity of the workmanship must have felt very comforting.

A truly remarkable story of a young lady that took life and all it’s spoils and went with it.  An educating, entertaining read that captivated me.  5/5*

About the Author

Maggie Groff is an award-winning novelist, columnist and non-fiction writer living and working in Australia. As a young woman in England she trained as a state registered nurse at King’s College Hospital, London, and worked at several London hospitals before securing a position as an in-house nurse at Selfridges. From there Maggie went on to pursue a richly varied and, at times, unusual nursing career. Aware that her daughter had no knowledge of her working life prior to becoming an author, she was inspired to write this memoir.