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The Last Concubine (The Shogun Quartet #2)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  2,237 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
How do you fall in love when your society has no word for it? "The Last Concubine" is an epic love story closely based on historical events, chronicling 19th century Japan's extraordinary change from a medieval to a modern country. This is the story of a shogun, a princess and the three thousand women of the women's palace - all of whom really existed - and of the civil wa ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published February 11th 2008 by Bantam Press (first published 2008)
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Dec 04, 2013 Daniel rated it did not like it
Writing this comment is probably going to more worthwhile than reading this book. For a 500 page book it's at least 501 pages too long. I should have known when my flatmate said she only has "girls book" that I shouldn't have read it. That was the first of many, many red flags to come. A beautiful girl in a small shitty town (red flag) in old Japan is spotted by the Princess (Red flag) to come back to Edo Castle (red flag) and live with the other 3000 women there (red flag). She spends her days ...more
Hasna Diana
Dec 26, 2008 Hasna Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Concubine, yang dalam bahasa Indonesia berarti Selir Terakhir, adalah sebuah epic love-story, kisah cinta seorang gadis muda Jepang yang harus menerima takdirnya menjadi selir seorang shogun, bertepatan dengan peristiwa runtuhnya kekuasaan Keshogunan Tokugawa, pada tahun 1800-an. Membaca buku ini, membawa kita kembali ke era Edo, zaman kuno Jepang yang luar biasa, penuh keajaiban yang membuat takjub, yang segera akan menghilang bersamaan dengan Jepang yang membuka dirinya terhadap Barat ...more
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
I read many favourable reviews about this book,and many of them were gushing with praise for it. A Japanese “Gone with the wind” With a gorgeous cover. Can you imagine I was so eager to get this book in my hands?

The plot boils down to this: Sachi is a peasant girl who is adopted by a princess.The princess is going to be the shoguns wife. Sachi grows up in the Edo castle and learns the strict protocol of the castle and using a halberd. The heroine becomes noticed by the shogun and becomes his co
Joana M
Nov 11, 2012 Joana M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
É um livro muito bonito. Um livro sobre amor numa sociedade em que não existe uma palavra para designar "amor". Fala sobre a mudança do Japão no século XIX, que deixou de ser um país medieval e passou a ser um país moderno. É um livro sobre honra, respeito e lealdade valores que estão, profundamente, entranhados naquelas pessoas. É nos apresentada uma sociedade em que os homens julgam que sentirem algo por uma mulher faz deles menos homens, ou seja, mulheres. Aqui as mulheres acham estranho que ...more
Jun 22, 2016 Katharina rated it it was amazing

A beautiful, beautiful story.

Das deutsche Audiobuch ist absolut zu empfehlen- Eva Mattes ist eine überragende Erzählerin, die den Charaktere Leben einhaucht; ihre Erzählweise verleiht dem Buch das besondere Etwas, verwandelt es in ein herausragendes. Eine wunderschöne Geschichte.
Mar 26, 2015 Tricia rated it it was ok
I wanted to give three stars (or even more) to this novel but halfway through it turned so hard for me to keep reading that I can’t do it. It started pretty well, with pages full of delicate nature metaphors and descriptions about places that quickly dragged me into it -plus Sachi’s observations (naïve at first, more mature while growing) were mainly credible and interesting ‘til certain point-, but suddenly, after reading quite a lot, I found myself having trouble comprehending the biggest role ...more
Aug 28, 2009 Jarka rated it did not like it
Shelves: why-oh-why
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2015 LookPla rated it liked it
เนือเรืองตามคำนำดานบนเลยคะ โดยผูเขียนสรางนางเอกของเราขึนมาใหเปนนางในคนสุดทาาย ในเลมนีมีคำอธิบายของผูเขียนวาตัวละครหลักเกือบทุกตัวมีตัวตนจริงๆ มีนางเอกของเราทีเปนตัวละครสมมุติ เหตุการณหลักๆคือเหตุการณจริง คือประวัติศาสตรของญีปุน คลายๆ ขาบดินทร ของ คุณวรรณวรรธน นันแหละ เรืองนีกตีแผชีวิตของนางในของโชกุน ไมวาจะเปนการใชชีวิต ความคิดอาน ขนบประเพณี รวมถึงการมอบตัวเปนนางขางหอง ถึงแมตอนนีจะนอยไปนิดกเหอะ แตเรืองทำเนียมปฏิบัติหรือความคิดความอานของคนสมัยนันนีชัดเจนพอควร อานแลวเลยแอบหงุิดหงิดเลกๆ กับความคิดค ...more
Sofia Welinder
WARNING: This is kinda like a Young Adult book.

Den Sidste Konkubine af Lesley Downer, 3,5 ud af 6 stjerner.

"Husker du, at du fortalte mig, at 'én, som lever hinsides min verden' betyder 'én, som har en ufattelig høj byrd'. Men måske betyder det 'én som slet ikke lever i denne verden'."

Jeg ville have elsket at elske denne bog, men det kunne jeg desværre ikke.

Den er melodramatisk, overdramatiseret og urealistisk, helt som en YA-bog er det. Det vil sige; ikke lige min smag.
En fantastisk smuk pig
Valentina Morgana la fata
C'è una sola cosa negativa che possa dire su questo libro: a volte era lento.
Ma anche questo era piuttosto ovvio, dopotutto si tratta di un romanzo storico sul Giappone della seconda metà dell'800, non c'è modo che almeno in alcune parti non risulti lento.
Sono rimasta veramente sorpresa perchè è tremendamente raro che legga un libro che racchiuda al tempo stesso tutte le caratteristiche che più mi piacciono; ma questo ce l'ha fatta.
- Ha una storia d'amore, ma che fortunatamente, benchè passional
Jan 14, 2009 Endah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Selir adalah sebuah kata yang lekat dengan kekuasaan sekaligus, mungkin, penderitaan. Kekuasaan karena praktik ini pada zaman dahulu sampai dengan hari ini berlangsung di balik istana raja-raja atau para lelaki penguasa. Penderitaan karena saya hampir yakin seratus persen tak ada selir yang benar-benar merasa bahagia dengan statusnya. Ia akan selalu jadi yang nomor dua atau dua ratus. Hak-haknya sebagai “istri” tidak sama dengan permaisuri (istri pertama). Jika mereka punya anak, hak anak-anakny ...more
Feb 21, 2013 Jose rated it it was ok
Was disappointed with this book. The main problem was the blurb on the back - it gives you the entire tale bar the last chapter or so (and even that wasn't too hard to guess). The implication of the blurb is that girl meets boy fairly quickly and once you realise that's not the case it's very hard to continue. It takes the entire book for the main character to meet her 'true' love, by which time she's been painted as a sap without much of a backbone. If it hadn't been for my love of all things J ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Caledonia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
While Japan is teetering on the edge of civil war, Sachi becomes concubine to the last shogun of Edo (Tokyo) but her life is soon to change when the old ways are swept away forever. Sachi flees from the castle where she has lived a pampered life and finds herself on the run with her trusted friend Taki. As traditional values break down, the roads are a treacherous place to be and Sachi soon finds herself in danger. She is rescued by a young ronin warrior with whom she soon falls in love but the ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Petra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In de Laatste concubine neemt Lesley Downer de lezer mee in het verhaal van Japen uit de 19e eeuw en de ontwikkelingen die een revolutie met zich mee brengen. Maar binnen het verhaal van Japan leeft Sachi, die net als haar land verschillende veranderingen doormaakt. Door haar aristocratische uiterlijk komt ze aan het hof van bij de Shogun in Edo terecht. Als concubine bereikt ze een van de hoogste posities mogelijk voor een vrouw, maar dan nog heeft een vrouw in dat Japan geen recht van spreken ...more
Aug 13, 2016 NovelBlogLover rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
After finishing The Last Concubine I came across a (spoiler-filled) video in which Lesley Downer, the author, likens her novel to “a Gone With The Wind set in Japan”. The parallel is awkward, not to say unfortunate. Beyond the surface similarities – a 19th-century civil war, destruction of a way of life, and a heroine-centric narrative – any real comparison is disadvantageous for The Last Concubine. Gone With The Wind is epic – big and complex and ambitious, a Pulitzer-prize-winning, love/hate c ...more
The Basic Bookworm
At the age of fifteen, Sachi — an adopted daughter of the village’s headman — is chosen by the princess to accompany her in the women’s palace in Edo. The palace is home to three thousand women and one man — the shogun. It is there where Sachi finds herself surrounded by deception and jealous rivalries. These issues are heightened when the princess chooses Sachi to become the shogun’s concubine. After a series of disasters, including an outburst of civil war, Sachi and her friends are forced to ...more
Apr 07, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it
I had high hopes for this book, I didn't expect a life changing experience but I expected a good easy read with a good plot. For me this book started well and I enjoyed the path it was taking, some parts a bit predictable. The story built up and I was waiting for the the exciting aspects to really begin and it did start to build. Then we have all the information we need to start leading us to the conclusion but it keeps going, I started to get a bit bored and felt like it was becoming difficult ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
I was just browsing through the library scanning book titles when this caught my eye. At first I have to admit I judged it on it's cover and title but when I finished I realized that I had just randomly stumbled upon one of the best written books I have ever read. It so well describes the ways of Japan in that time period and I'm going to read it again.
G. Lawrence
Apr 18, 2016 G. Lawrence rated it liked it
Having read this author's non-fiction, I was excited to come across a work of fiction. I did enjoy it, but must admit that I much more enjoyed the first half than the second. The politics in the suffocating world of the shogun's harem were sensitivity told, and I was interested in the tiny changes of the lives of these women. But the second half of the book (I won't go into spoilers) I found harder to engage with, perhaps surprisingly, since that is primarily a love story. I felt the second half ...more
May 21, 2009 Daniela rated it really liked it
looks like i've come to enjoy narratives about remote locations and cultural beliefs and practices so divergent with the common pool of Euro-American resources
May 09, 2012 Melo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Me encantó!
Un perfecto retrato de Japón en la epoca de los Samurais, Geishas, Concubinas...
Sencillamente genial!
M.L. Sparrow
Dec 23, 2015 M.L. Sparrow rated it it was amazing
This book is a beautiful story of a lost culture. It grabbed both my interest and my imagination, though I felt it was a little slow to being with. Lesley Downer described Sachi's world in beautiful detail and her characters were understandable and relatable, despite the fact that they lived in such a different world to the one we live in. It was really strange to think that Sachi was only a teenager; at the end of the book she is twenty-two and yet it seems like she was lived her whole life.

Apr 12, 2015 Siv30 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese
הוצאת מודן, תרגמה מאנגלית: דורית בריל-פולק, עיצוב עטיפה: עדה ורדי, 490 עמודים.

בשנת 1600 הסתיים אחד הקרבות הגדולים בתולדות יפן. קרב סקיגאהרה הוכרע ע"י משפחת טוקוגאווה. הניצחון, ככל ניצחון במלחמה, לא השיג שלום מידי אלא שלום שנסמך על פילוג המשמר סטטוס קוו בין מנצחים למפסידים. מפסידים שחולמים יום אחד להכריע את הקרב בצורה אחרת.

בשנת 1603, מונה ע"י הקיסר, אייאסו מבית טוקוגאווה לשוגון. אייאסו העביר את שלטונו לכפר דייגים קטן שנקרא אדו, מאוחר יותר יהיה שמו של הכפר טוקיו.

בעקבות מרד שימאבארה, השוגונות לבית
Mar 08, 2014 Gary rated it it was amazing
A very engrossing novel. Set in 1860s Japan during the time of the Meiji Restoration and the years leading up to it.
Sachi grows up in a mountain village rural Japan. Her pale skin and fine features have always set her apart and made her feel different. At the age of eleven, the procession of the Imperial Princess sweeps up her up from her home to the woman's palace at the Imperial capital of Edo, where she is before too long, chosen as the concubine of the young Shogun after he sees and her and
Natalie Carvajal
Jan 23, 2011 Natalie Carvajal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty great so far! I'm about halfway through the book and there isn't as much character development as the back of the book promises, it's mostly about a naive village girl chosen to go to the palace because the princess thinks she has a great destiny that is outside of the village. She is chosen to be the shogun's concubine and falls in love with first the shogun, then has to grow up really quickly (but this isn't very believably written about for some reason), and then develops feeling for a ...more
Sabrina Zee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I had only read Lesley Downer's non fiction books before, and I loved those. This book is fictional and follows the journey of Sachi from her childhood as a young peasant girl to her life as a concubine of the Tokugawa Shogun. There are many twists and turns in her life and the events depicted in the background are for the most part accurate.

The characters are well thought out, but the plots seem unrealistic to be set in 1860s Japan. The ending seemed very forced, and imo, ought to have ended in
Oct 05, 2012 Juliana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this is a wonderful book and Im happy because I had the oportunity to read it. Is an amazing story with a lot of real history, not only fiction. Actually, there is more reality than fiction.I get amazed about how was the Japanese culture and what happened to it. The writter had the talent to tell the history with the enough emotion and magic to make us think that we were remembering something of our past. Is a book that I completely recomend for all those people that like history an ...more
A. E. S.
Nov 18, 2013 A. E. S. rated it it was ok
Shelves: taste-of-asia
This book was very "whimsical" in a sort of sense, although it had its problems. I feel like the book could have been reduced in length by 50%, and although the action scenes were good they seemed stilted and redundant, trying "too hard" to leave the reader in suspense. Nearly three-quarters of the novel is about this woman travelling - which is very tiring at times.

The way Downer wrote this book seems to drone on and on. Her writing could be tighter and more to the point. I do appreciate the im

This book lived up to almost all expectations the title woke with me. It is the story of the life of a young village girl that is taken to the palace of the shogun by his young wife. When the shogun dies, her story continues, although it is completely upside down because of all the political upheaval that was going on in Japan around the 1850's.

I loved reading this book. I am already interested in 'the east', meaning that I know a tiny bit about ronin, sam
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I write historical fiction set in Japan - women’s untold stories, largely true and based on meticulous and detailed research, though primarily, of course, good yarns. I’ve just finished The Shogun’s Queen, the fourth of The Shogun Quartet, four novels set in the nineteenth century during the tumultuous fifteen years when Japan was convulsed by civil war and transformed from rule by the shoguns int ...more
More about Lesley Downer...

Other Books in the Series

The Shogun Quartet (4 books)
  • The Shogun's Queen (The Shogun Quartet #1)
  • The Courtesan and the Samurai (The Shogun Quartet #3)
  • Across a Bridge of Dreams (The Shogun Quartet #4)

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