The Commoner
Reviewed by- linda (2011/01/24, 06:43 PM)
(3.5 stars) It’s always interesting to read about the secrets of royalty, which by their closed nature are mysterious. This story is based on the Empress Michiko who was the first commoner to marry an heir to the Japanese throne. It is well written and well researched glimpsing into what life may be like for Japan’s royal family. The author presents several royal ceremonies describing the events in eloquent detail, including those surrounding an imperial wedding and the coronation ceremony of a new emperor. He also shows many of the traditions and formalities strictly adhered to by the royal family. The heart of the story however is the journey of Haruko, the commoner who married a prince, as she learns the rules and adjusts to the loneliness of Imperial life. As her new life engulfs her, she is plagued by self-doubt and longs for companionship. Her mother in law abhors her common blood and the households staff’s sole existence appears to be to make her life stifling and miserable, yet to Haruko’s credit she honors her commitment to her husband and endures, but not without consequences. Overall, an interesting read on a fascinating topic. I liked that the premise for the book is based on true events. My main criticisms are the lack of attachment I felt for the characters and the pacing of the plot; things became a little tedious and repetitious in the middle. This book would be of interest to those who enjoy reading about the culture of “Imperial Japan” or appreciate well written books.Back.

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