Lady of The Imperial City
Author: Laura Kitchell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 2015
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Love isn’t forbidden to Lady Kirei as long as it’s with a proper gentleman of Kyō and she doesn’t mind sharing him with his wife. Her provincial upbringing makes her socially unacceptable as a true wife, yet as a lady by birth and a court favorite, her position makes it impossible for her to seek a match below her station. She’s trapped.
When a nobleman of similar provincial upbringing arrives in town and becomes an instant favorite of the emperor, he is sent to Lady Kirei for tutoring on city ways. Lord Yūkan is smitten, but she’s not a conquest to be won. She’s a woman of substance and worth, and she’s off limits.
Despite his unrefined manners, Lord Yūkan’s aristocratic bloodline shows through his fine taste and quick mind. It doesn’t hurt that he’s handsome, too. As he begins to touch her heart, Lady Kirei is ever mindful that they can’t commit, especially when her uncle schemes to make her a consort to a prince.
Will her family’s honor relegate her to the shadow-life of a consort, or can love find a way?
My Review: Kirei is living with her aristocratic uncle in the city of Kyo. However, because she was born and raised in the country, she cannot have an advantageous marriage. Her most prosperous future is to be the concubine to a prince. One day, Yukan, a country relative and a distant relative to the empress, arrives in Kyo. Yet, his manners are so unrefined for the city people that he is a laughing stock. The emperor appoints Kirei to teach him the refined manners of aristocratic elite. While tutoring him, they soon fall in love. Can they find a way to be together or must Kirei resign herself to her fate as the prince’s concubine?
Kirei is very lively. She is educated and observant in the behavior of the aristocratic society. She is feisty and headstrong. She does not want the life of what society dictates to her. She is attracted to Yukan because she can relate to his situation. He is a fish out of the water. While she laughs at him, she also feels sorry for him. Even though Yukan is often looked down upon by other members of society, he is very clever. He is hard-working and seriously strives to be a refined aristocrat. Thus, Kirei and Yukan make a good pair because both of them have a lot in common. Both of them are outsiders to society.
Overall, this book is about friendship, love, choices, and happiness. The story is very slow-moving, but I thought it was a good character story. I liked how the relationship between Yukon and Kirei has progressed naturally and slowly. I found the author’s writing to be very beautiful. The author did a great job in describing the Japanese aristocratic society. Even though this novel was set in medieval Japan, it reminded me of Jane Austen and other Regency novels. I recommend this book to those interested Japanese history and to anyone who is looking for a light, sweet, love story that is not set in Europe.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars