Book Review : The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley

This book is listed for sale at Happy Fish Books at RM 22.

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

An electrifying epic, based on the incredible true story of a Chinese princess turned spy.
This book is a fictitious memoir of a Chinese princess of the late Qing Dynasty who chooses to pledge loyalty to Japan rather than embracing her Chinese roots. Eastern Jewel is portrayed as a notorious, cruel and selfish person, and her personality is reflected clearly in various aspects. She wants to be love and accepted, but everything she does only brings her a short-lived joy and sense of excitement. Right from the beginning, she is a rebellious girl who wants to control her own fate, not realizing that her many actions are gradually condemning herself. I think she might have come to better terms were she born a son and not a daughter.

Having being sent to Japan at the tender age of eight after witnessing her father's liaison with a fourteen-year-old maid, Eastern Jewel's life is fated to be hard and full of thorns. She was adopted by the Kawashima's and was given the name Yoshiko. As she grew up to be a beautiful woman, the patriarch of the family, an eighty-year-old man named Teshima became interested in her and proceeded to sexually approach Eastern Jewel, who was still fifteen years old at that time. She then underwent a repeating process in the hands of her stepfather Kawashima.

Eastern Jewel is portrayed as a female with unusual sexual appetite, she had uncountable lovers and had bedded many of the high and powerful. The author seemed to concentrate on describing her uncountable sexual affairs that I couldn't help but question whether this book is supposed to be a historical fiction. I detested Eastern Jewel's wild, notorious behaviours in her adult years, but I also couldn't help but feel pity for her for what she had gone through in her childhood.

Eastern Jewel had a complex character. She yearned for love but did not scorn the idea of being unfaithful. Instead, she seemed to enjoy having various partners at a time. She hated it when people regarded her as a Chinese and was undoubtedly loyal towards Japan. I think this has something to do with her growing up in a foreign country and learning to adopt the Japanese mindset.

Eastern Jewel's life is full of adventures, affairs and political intrigues. To say that she is a unruly woman would be an understatement. As much as I hated her character and way of thinking, I somehow liked how she is portrayed - a multifaceted espionage with a wild streak. Maybe she was meant to be born just for the sake of leaving an unprecedented history about a Chinese princess who has a Japanese heart.

Rating: 3

This book contains adult contents, obscenities, as well as alcohol and drug abuse. Not for readers under 18 years of age.
Maureen Lindley's picture
Having worked as a photographer, antique dealer and dress designer, eventually trained as a psychotherapist. She has one daughter and lives in the Wye valley on the Welsh borders with her husband.

1 creative remarks:

Elizabeth said...

THANKS for letting me know about your review.

I like how you indicated it was adult certainly was. :)