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The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

by Maureen Lindley

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  • Published:
  • Sep 2009
    304 pages
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  • Lee M. (Tulsa, OK)
    A Chinese Japanese Puzzle
    The subject of this book is the first half of the 20th century as seen through the eyes of a Chinese/Japanese princess. Eastern Jewel is a rebellious Chinese princess, banished to a Japanese family by her father. She comes to love Japan, and acts as a spy for Japan in China during the Second World War. I was particularly interested in the setting of the story. Much has been written about this period, but not from the point of view of an Oriental woman. A very interesting read.
  • Brenda S. (Grand Rapids, MN)
    Outstanding!
    One of the best books I have ever read. Maureen Lindley takes hold of you from the very first page and takes you on a ride that is exhilarating and, at times, exhausting. The raw details and non-judgmental story will keep anyone carrying this book around until the last page. There is another popular Asian book out now that can't even compete with this book. The format (all the chapter titles made me hungry?) is perfect for the whirlwind story of a headstrong woman in a time when women are considered lowly lifeforms. Thank you, Maureen Lindley!
  • Elyse G. (Creswell, OR)
    Intriguing character, engaging story
    I enjoyed the story of Eastern Jewel. I had never heard of this person before, but knowing that she was real, even if all the events and emotions may not have been, made it all the more interesting.

    It is told in very simple, straightforward prose. At first I found the style to be a little jarring, but at some point I realized that it was the voice of the character - detached, unemotional. She was simple recounting her history truthfully, with no apology.

    The glimpses into various other cultures added another layer of interest for me, and while I wouldn't rave about this book, I did find it totally engrossing.
  • Lori L. (La Porte, IN)
    The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
    In The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel, author Maureen Lindley paints a fascinating portrait of a Chinese princess banished from her home and raised in Japan. Her loyalty to her adopted nation led her to become a spy for them and ultimately to her undoing. What I found interesting about this true story was its portrayal of the changing roles of women in Japan in the years leading up to WWI. Eastern Jewel was raised to be a traditional Japanese woman, whose main role in life was to be pleasing to men. She chose to use her beauty and sexuality, not just to please men, but to manipulate them to her ends. In this way, she was decidedly modern.
  • Betsey V. (Austin, TX)
    An internal journey
    This is very much a psychological exploration of a woman who is both formidable and vulnerable. Eastern Jewel's sense of loss and abandonment is acutely felt. There is much pathos in this Princess of moral ambiguity who is determined to do more than survive. In a world where men reign and woman are second-class citizens, she vows to live a liberated, independent life. The prose is sensuous and lyrical and compelling. A page-turner.
  • Marsha S. (Nags Head, NC)
    The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
    The book opens with an account of Eastern Jewel, a Manchu princess, caught spying on her father having sexual relations with a young girl, after which she is sent away from her home to be raised in Japan. The story of her life from that point, told in the first-person, gave me the voyeuristic feeling of reading someone's secret diary - guilty, but I could not stop reading it. I enjoyed the way the author managed to bring a richly imagined life to an historical figure by revealing her innermost thoughts and feelings. The book contains a thoughtful reading guide and suggested related reading.
  • 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.
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