Advance reader reviews of The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley.

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

By Maureen Lindley

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009,
    304 pages.

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There are currently 18 member reviews
for The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
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  • Julie M. (South St Paul, MN)

    Disappointing Jewel
    I didn't find the story as compelling as I thought it would be. I had to force myself to finish it. I wanted to be swept away like I was in Memiors of a Geisha or Snowflower and the Secret Fan, but sadly I wasn't.
  • Virginia W. (Cloverdale, CA)

    The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
    I liked this book for its information about both Chinese and Japanese cultures and the way women were treated. Eastern Jewel was exiled from China to Japan at the age of 8 and put in a family of strangers. That she even survived this separation from her family is noteworthy. The book is about her entire life, her adventurous nature, her many scrapes and they way she coped with adversity. She was quite promiscuous which was due to the way she was treated by the authoritarian males in her early life.
    All in all, I thought it was an interesting read and would recommend the book to friends.
  • Jane H. (Owensboro, KY)

    The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
    Giving this book a three might put off some readers from picking it up to read, but I hope it doesn't. Despite the fact that I believe it to be only an "average" read, it does have its moments and I really had no problem staying interested in the story.

    I was puzzled throughout the story about the true story aspect. I felt the author could have been more specific in a prologue about exactly how much leeway she took in putting this together. I think a better presentation would have been to print excerpts from the actual diaries (if there were actual diaries) and then fill in the story with dialogue and supposed scenarios. As it was, I think it diluted the effectiveness of what is probably a very interesting behind the scenes story of a Chinese woman recruited by the Japanese to spy for them.

    Also, the sexual freeness or obsession of this woman, who lived from circa 1920, was a little unbelievable without some kind of further explanation about why she was so drastically different from the "normal" recluse Asian women of that time.

    I would have liked to know more about her Princess status. Not being a Chinese/Japanese history scholar, I couldn't quite put her royal status in perspective. I felt a short rundown on the historical aspect of her position in society would have helped tremendously in fleshing out her character. I couldn't really appreciate the magnitude or scope of her life without more historical background.

    These things aside, it really was a fascinating look into the life of a female spy, her motivations and lack of direction which eased her into the amoral life depicted in this book.

    So, even with a 3 rating, I think this is an interesting book, worthy of your reading time.
  • Marjorie W. (Bonita Springs, FL)

    The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
    This book was, for me, a difficult read. When I first started to read Eastern Jewel, I wasn't sure if I would finish. The character, a Manchu princess, defied tradition and conventional mores from a very young age. The author has tried to show her to be not just a one-sided "bad" person, but one with some sense of loyalty and love. Her sexual "addiction"; her preference of dressing in men's clothing and her penchant for spying (even as a child) combined to make her an unsympathetic character. It is only at the very end of this book that I find Eastern Jewel a "decent" human being.
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