The Samurai's Daughter Hardcover – Mar 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
All California-born Rei Shimura really wants is to lead her quiet life in Tokyo as an antiques dealer while learning more about her Japanese relatives, but Massey, of course, has other plans for her in this absorbing cross-cultural puzzle, the sixth in the series (after 2001's The Bride's Kimono). On her way home from Washington, D.C., Rei stops in San Francisco to spend Christmas with her parents and do some research on Japanese decorative objects, including some belonging to her family. Her Scottish boyfriend, lawyer Hugh Glendinning, is involved in a reparation case for victims who were used as slave labor by corporations during WWII. Holiday festivities take on an edge when the woman Hugh is in town to question is murdered, Rei uncovers some potentially disturbing information about her own family's role in the war and a young Japanese medical student boarding with the family disappears. All trails seem to lead to Tokyo, where Rei returns to her beloved apartment and her relatives hoping for resolution. She and Hugh, however, soon find themselves embroiled in some very nasty business leading to her deportation back to San Francisco. Massey poses some deeply resonating questions about guilt and responsibility, while Rei faces some universal truths about families, loyalty and dealing with the past no matter how unpleasant it may be. Hugh's Christmas proposal guarantees intriguing complications ahead. FYI: Massey has won Agatha and Macavity awards.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
After briefly veering off course with The Bride's Kimono (2001), Massey is squarely back on track with this sixth, and possibly best, entry in her series starring young Japanese American Rei Shimura. This time the action takes place both in San Francisco, where Rei's parents reside, and in Rei's home city of Tokyo. Deciding to take a brief sabbatical from her antiques business, Rei is researching Shimura family history, in particular, how the family lived before dramatic modernization in the 1960s. Rei's boyfriend, Scottish attorney Hugh Glendinning, is researching a lawsuit that also involves Japanese history: restitution for Asian women forced into prostitution by large Japanese companies during World War II. The couple's blissful time together is soon shattered when one of Hugh's clients is killed and another seriously wounded. To make matters worse, both Rei and Hugh's projects initiate several confrontations with Rei's Japanese father. Massey deftly weaves fascinating historical and cultural detail into a suspenseful plot. A cliffhanger ending leaves the door open for the series to chart more new territory. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
I agree with other reviewers: This series is best read from beginning to end. But if you've been following Rei Shimura and have come to care about the heroine, this volume offers background into the heroine's life and how she has been formed into a unique individual -- someone who grew up in the US but lives comfortably in Japan.
The plot was a little far-fetched and there is some reliance on coincidence. Most readers will smell a rat as soon as they meet the character who turns out to be the villain, although the connection won't seem at all obvious. However, I didn't mind and didn't question the plot or the motive until I put the book down, after a long and satisfying read.
And Rei's alliance with Hugh should lead to more adventures. As others have noted, the author is at
her best when she's writing about Japan. However, beginning with The Bride's Kimono, I suspect the author wants to write more about the US. And I'll look forward to the next volume in the series, no matter where it takes place.
A change of setting was a new twist Massey gave the reader in this book, splitting Rei's time between her hometown of San Francisco, and her beloved, adopted home in Tokyo. I thought this split helped character development - the reader got to know Rei and her background even more than in previous novels. Her love life has finally stablized with on-again, off-again beau, Scottish man Hugh Glendinning.
While Rei is visiting her parents in SF, she is working on a family history document. Hugh is a central character as he navigates his way through a class action lawsuit against former WWII slave laborers. As her involment in both projects grow, Rei comes to understand her own roots even more fully.
If you've never read one of Massey's books before, this will be a treat (and go grab the others, too!). If you are looking for guns, violence, and hard language, look elsewhere. Massey's lack of these things makes her novels a haven for me! If you have enjoyed her novels before, this one, I believe, will not be a disappointment.
Stuck with her parents in their San Francisco homestead, Rei is in turn pleased to be spoiled, and chafing under the bit to get back to her privacy in Japan. But she has a strange house guest, a native Japanese student, to contend with--as well as the ardent courtship of her long-time boyfriend, the sexy Scots lawyer Hugh Glendinning.
While contending with the usual East-West contradictions of her everyday life, Rei is contenting herself with researching and writing her family's history. But she uncovers more than she bargained for when it turns out that her grandfather actually tutored Emperor Hirohito--and may have been part of a right-wing Japanese political group that fostered the ultimate events of World War II. Now Rei has to face the Japan of the War, and contrast it with the modern-day Japan, her much-beloved adopted country--and the country of her father.
Add to that the top-secret case that Hugh is working on, which concerns reparations for Japanese war crimes, and one gets an idea of Rei's state of mind. For the first time, she becomes distant from her father and her family as she searches her soul for who she really is.
The answer is there, and always has been, for the enchanted reader to see--and when Rei ultimately finds herself, there is a wonderful treat in store for her and for us.
but i'm afraid it isn't interesting enough to occupy half a book with i'm afraid. Still this would be forgiveable, would it serve as set up for Rei's return to japan, and were the crime investigated truly engrossing, but unfortunately neither is the case. The end of the story sees Rei back where she started from, unlikely to return to her home of choice before the end of the next book, and the 'case', never Masseys strong suit, is i'm afraid an utter, incoherent mess, that completely failed to grip me (it's finally 'solved', if you will call it that, not so much through logical deduction, but rather a chain of lucky coincidences and the elimination of all other possible suspects aka authorial handwaving). Massey can do, and in the past has done, _much_ better.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I started reading this book only because my husband had it. I am a Japanese woman living in the US, and I found the author, Sujata Massey adequately depicting modern Japanese... Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004
I feel the same way about this series that many reviewers seem to: a lot of what makes these books interesting is their glimpses into modern-day life in Japan. Read morePublished on July 1 2003 by Amber
As much as I love the Rei Shimura books, this one was a letdown...Rei takes on the issue of WWII slave labor and reparations to the victims, which is interesting because it's not... Read morePublished on April 2 2003
I love Massey's stories which usually take place in an idealized Japan. I was not as enchanted with the portions of this book that took place in America. Read morePublished on March 22 2003
The joy I get out of reading this author's series of mysteries is mainly from the exotic nature of the Japanese culture and the California-native Rei's interactions within it. Read morePublished on March 9 2003 by Amazon Customer