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Title: The Last Concubine
Author: Lesley Downer
Genre: Historical fiction, cultural
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 475
Date read: June, 2011

It is 1861.

Growing up deep in the mountains of rural Japan, Sachi has always felt different, her pale skin and fine features setting her apart from her friends and family.

Then, when she is just eleven, an imperial princess passes through her village and sweeps her off to the women's palace in the great city of Edo. Bristling with intrigue and erotic rivalries, the palace is home to three thousand women and only one man - the young shogun. Sachi is chosen as his concubine.

But Japan is changing. Black Ships have come from the West, bringing foreigners eager to add it to their colonial empires. As civil war erupts, Sachi flees for her life.

Rescued by a rebel warrior, she finds unknown feelings stirring within her. But before she dare dream of a life with him, Sachi must unravel the mystery of her own origins - a mystery that encompasses a wrong so terrible that it threatens to destroy her.

I feel a bit bad giving this a rating of only 2.5, because it's in no way a bad book... it's just a book that was so easy for me to put down that it took me 4 months to finish it! It wasn't boring, it just... wasn't engaging either. The author was too far removed from the characters, so the reader never really got to know them or care too much about them either.

It did have some really interesting insights into Japan at the time though, but as a period book was far too long for what I got out of it.

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