The Jade Lioness by Christina Courtenay
Book Three in the Kumashiro series
Publisher: Choc Lit
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia
Can an impossible love become possible?
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 jade lioness 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
Temperance’s trip to Japan isn’t at all what she expected.
Temperance had hoped that her trip to Japan would be a beautiful adventure. However, once Temperance realizes she will not be allowed to travel around the country; her excitement quickly turns to boredom. Consequently, she decides to do a bit of exploring on her own and meets Kazuo. Their first meeting leaves her wanting more, and once again she dares to escape the confines of the small island she’s living on. Unfortunately, this mistake proves to be very costly, and Temperance’s life is changed forever. I must say that while this is book three in a series, it can certainly stand on its own.
Temperance is a very easy character to like. She’s definitely naïve at the start of the story, but she is kind, caring, and always willing to help others. Her inner strength is put to the test more than once in this book, and I had the pleasure of watching Temperance grow into a great character.
Temperance and Kazuo make a very good couple. They are attracted to each other from the moment they meet, and I must admit that their connection is formed a little fast for my taste. Despite this issue, Temperance and Kazuo’s relationship still feels genuine. However, the restrictions on foreigners make the idea of a happy ending for the couple seem truly impossible. Ms. Courtenay did an excellent job of building suspense gradually. As this romance progressed, the couple moved from one precarious situation to another, and I wasn’t entirely sure that Temperance and Kazuo would find a way to be together without fear until the very end.
Temperance and Kazuo face separate dilemmas throughout the story. As they try to avoid being caught by various enemies, they try to tackle one problem at a time. However, the solution to both Temperance and Kazuo’s problems are found in the same place, and Temperance plays a key role in restoring Kazuo’s family honor. It was not exactly the solution I expected, but it was certainly satisfying.
The Jade Lioness is a very enjoyable book. Temperance is a sweet character, and I liked cheering for her and Kazuo against all odds. I recommend this tale to anyone looking for a different historical romance.