The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel Summary and Reviews

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

by Maureen Lindley

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

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Book Summary

Paperback Original. Peking, 1914. When the eight-year-old princess Eastern Jewel is caught spying on her father's liaison with a servant girl, she is banished from the palace, sent to live with a powerful family in Japan. Renamed Yoshiko Kawashima, she quickly falls in love with her adoptive country, where she earns a scandalous reputation, taking fencing lessons, smoking opium, and entertaining numerous lovers. Sent to Mongolia to become an obedient wife, Yoshiko mounts a daring escape and eventually finds her way back to Peking high society—this time with orders from the Japanese secret service.

Based on the true story of a rebellious woman who earned a controversial place in history, The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel is a vibrant reimagining of a thrilling life—a rich historical epic of palace intrigue, sexual manipulation, and international espionage.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This lush, challenging portrait of a woman who dared to make her own choices...in terrible, oppressive times also makes a steamy historical beach read." - Publishers Weekly

"Riveting – Maureen Lindley brings Eastern Jewel and her world vividly to life with a wealth of fascinating details in this captivating novel." - Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans

"A breathtaking account of a ruthless and beautiful princess who betrayed her heritage to spy for the Japanese." - Adeline Yen Mah, author of Falling Leaves

"An exotic story of sexual promiscuity, opium and opulence…A promising work." - Mail on Sunday (UK)

Essential … The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel proves fact is stranger than fiction. It's a thrilling read." - Harper’s Bazaar (UK)

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Reader Reviews

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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.

...12 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Born in England and raised in Scotland, Maureen Lindley has worked as a photographer, antique dealer, and dress designer, and trained as a psychotherapist. She lives in the Wye valley on the Welsh borders with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.

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