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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
Lady of the Imperial City by Laura Kitchell is a fresh historical novel that takes place in ancient Japan. I am highly fond of historical novels, and Japan is one of my favorite settings. I loved James Clavell’s series of books set in Asia, especially that great classic of modern fiction; Shogun. What I found so fresh about Lady of the Imperial City was the conversations of daily life that centered around men and women as opposed to discussions of huge dramatic historical events. I find that discussions of female characters are kind of rare in novels about Asia and the way Laura Kitchell rendered these talks, essentially gossip, is masterful. She blends the requirements needed to portray ancient Japan to a modern western audience with a unique and expert voice. The characters are much more human and a lot less “Oriental” than those of many writers I have read before.
Yukan and his friends were no real surprise for me but Amai, Kirei, and practically all the female characters were a new and very well done insight into life in old Japan. Laura Kitchell is a master of dialogue and I highly recommend Lady of the Imperial City on that aspect alone - but don’t worry, the plot is clever, the characters very sympathetic, and the writing witty and entertaining. This novel is very well done on every level. If I had to read only one historical romance this year, this would be the one I would choose. You can’t lose with Lady of the Imperial City, whether your preference is history or romance.