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The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,305 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
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 entertain ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shannon
Jul 05, 2009 Shannon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Ugh - I had so much trouble getting through this book. I made it about halfway through my advanced copy. The descriptions are beautifully done and the book is well-written. However, the character is just simply unlikeable. At first I had sympathy for her but it became painful to read. Every few pages contains a graphic sex scene, most of which involved rough, aggressive sex bordering on BDSM. This is not something I'd choose to read (to each his/her own, no judgement, but not my thing)...but I f ...more
MAP
Jan 09, 2010 MAP rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY!
I spent most of this book just wanting it to be over so I could read the next one.

This book is given one star, not because it's the monstrosity seen in some of my other one star reviews, but because of the incredible disappointment it is, and because the author very clearly states in her forward what she wanted from this book, and because she failed so utterly at it.

Lindley says in her forward that she came across the story of Eastern Jewel, and felt that the consistent portrayal of her was that
...more
drey
I requested this book based on the cover--I didn't know who Eastern Jewel was, which makes me wonder if I should somehow be ashamed to not know the history of my own race? Anyway. I asked for it, received it, and read it.

I have to admit, it took me a while to finish. Not because I didn't enjoy the book, but because the subject's life--while it must have been entertaining and adventurous to her--made me feel sad that she was as exploited as she was, and how willingly she participated in her own e
...more
Angelina
Jul 08, 2016 Angelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an enjoyable read. I liked it and i didn't expected to go to a certain direction cause it was based on a true story. What I liked most in this dtory was the spirit of giosiko!
Sara
Jan 31, 2010 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wow I can't believe this has such a low average rating...... I loved this book. Perhaps lindley's view of Eastern Jewel is slightly romanticised so maybe as an historical record it may not be up to scratch. I definitely enjoyed every minute of this book. The descriptions are amazing & I could practicall smell & taste them.

Oh I also loved the way each chapter was given a title relating to food/drink/scent.

Quite a sad story.
Aimee
Sep 21, 2009 Aimee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel is a novel written in flowing report/ journal style and details the life of a Chinese Princess who turned her back on her native country to serve its rival, Japan, as a spy. Based on the real-life story of Yoshiko Kawashima, Private Papers dishes up an interesting twist on traditional Asian historical fiction.




The book reads like a strange formula: Eastern Jewel is full of wit and dare, Eastern Jewel wants to seduce Boy, Eastern Jewel uses her clever charms to
...more
Erin
Feb 06, 2011 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of a Chinese princess who rejects her traditional role and becomes a notorious figure in pre-WWII Japan. Based on a true story, the premise of this tale is really interesting. Eastern Jewel's rebellious spirit leads her to flee her arranged marriage and become a Japanese spy. However, the writer fails to make Eastern Jewel a sufficiently sympathetic protagonist, and the story falls flat.

I never felt as though I understood Eastern Jewel's motivations and desires. She's a
...more
Elise
Sep 01, 2011 Elise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was written as if Eastern Jewel was writing a memoir. At the end, I wondered why I didn't have a feel for who Eastern Jewel was as a person. I didn't know her motivations, her abandonment issues, her attachment to Japan, or disgust for China. After reading a person's journal for 300 pages, I expect to know a little more! Why didn't Eastern Jewel get more upset about being sterilized after the abortion? Wasn't she scared of the abuse of her stepfather and stepgrandfather? She didn't see ...more
Deirdre
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Not-so-historical fiction, September 8, 2009


First, I wish this book had been billed as pure fiction, rather than 'based on a true story'. I'm not sure how much truth Lindley managed to include in her story - I'm not sure that very much truth is actually known about Eastern Jewel. While her life and story would be riveting to explore, this novel seems taken entirely from Lindley's imagination and relies far too heavily on the princess and her s
...more
Julia
Jun 07, 2010 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. The back cover had everything I usually like - spies, intrigue, based on a true story, Asia, WWII, strong female character.

But the execution did not go as planned. I looked up some real sources for the woman known as Eastern Jewel and the author seemed to take some extreme liberties with her story, liberties that were unnecessary since her real life sounded so interesting. There was a surprising amount of non-con sex in this book and while it tried to play it o
...more
Michael
An unusual story based on the true life of a woman who lived in China, Japan and Mongolia, and was the daughter of a Chinese prince and one of his concubines. She was born in 1907 and died in 1948. The story flowed smoothly for me but it certainly was different from many that I have read. From an early age she was made aware of sex as a means of power and control and she certainly seemed to have no hesitation in using sex to her advantage from adolescence until her death. Through her royal conne ...more
S.
Sep 29, 2009 S. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won this from FirstReads!


I was hesitant to start reading this book but the minute I did, I was engrossed until about half way through. It's a dark tale of a Chinese Princess, Eastern Jewel, sent to Japan at a young age. She grows up to live an untraditional life. She's not very likeable. What redeems her are some of her good thoughts and feelings towards people but she doesn't act on them. The sex is hollow and graphic, slightly disturbing. The dream descriptions are distracting.
Tara Chevrestt
This was entertaining.. I felt sorry for Eastern Jewel despite my disgust with her lifestyle choices. The author showed us many possible sides to this controversial woman. The book is written like a memoir starting with Eastern Jewel as a child who is shunned from her home, family, and country of China for spying on her father while he has relations with a concubine. All through her childhood, EJ or Yoshiko as she becomes tries hard to make people love her, but to no avail. Seems everybody has a ...more
Natalie
Feb 27, 2013 Natalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Ovo je bilo zabavno čitati iako je stil pisanja krut, novinarski stil. Inspirirana na istinitim životnim događajima Yoshiko Kawashima knjiga je pisana u prvom licu kao memoar. Radnja započinje sa sudbinom male djevojčice Yoshiko od 8 godina koja je kao dijete prognana iz svoje obitelji i zemlje (Kine) i predana na odgoj u Japan kod majčine daljnje obitelji, a sve iz razloga jer je kao dijete iz dosade ''špijunirala'' svog oca kako se ''igra'' u krevetu sa svojom konkubinom.

Tužna sudbina (žensko
...more
Bridget
Jul 09, 2009 Bridget rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers, China/Japan history lovers
Shelves: 2009-reads
I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those books that everyone else will rave about, and I simply thought was OK ...

Which is not to say it wasn't interesting. This is the story of Princess Eastern Jewel, whose father was of the Qing Dynasty in China, and whose mother was one of the father's concubines. The book begins in Peking, in 1914, when 8-year-old Eastern Jewel is caught spying on her father and a servant girl having what is politely referred to as a "liaison." She is banished
...more
Sarah
May 05, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very nearly had this as a DNF. There was something that about the writing style that immediately turned me off. There's a lot of telling and telling and telling, despite some intermittent details that are actually almost poetic in description.

But I don't like to just be told what's what. I need to be shown to feel it, you know?

That said, there is also something entirely readable about this book. Unlike some other reviews I've read, I wasn't put off by the sexual activity that romps through the
...more
Jane Mettee
Jun 15, 2016 Jane Mettee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story. A historical novel based on the life of a Chinese Princess. Her wealthy father banished her at age 8 for misbehavior to live with a wealthy family in Japan. She was raised in Japan by strangers who did not care about her. She was sexually abused by the men in the family. She developed into an adventurous promiscuous young woman. She became infamous during WW II in Shanghai where she began serving as a spy for Japan. She ended up belonging to neither country but with a stro ...more
Beagle44
Jun 08, 2014 Beagle44 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say first, I have not read other reviews so my viewpoint has not been colored. As a first novel I found myself hoping Maureen Lindley will write more. I believe because of the author's background in psychotherapy, fashion design, photography and antiques, she brought an amazing amount of detail together wrapped in the honest emotions of a very unique individual. There was an honesty about the description of the life of "Eastern Jewel" that was non-judgmental and while I never felt I ha ...more
Eileen Souza
Utterly and completely unreadable. This is based on the life of Easern Jewel, Yoshiko Kawashi, who was a cold and heartless ______ (feel free to fill in the blank, they are all true). Not only could I not relate to this character, but her calculating and careless destruction of other people's live sickened me.

The author was trying to write from this woman's perspective, which must have been quite a challange, but the way the "character" thought about things just - it just wasn't human.

I'll neve
...more
Rebecca
Oct 05, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was my recent Phoenix travel book and I found myself very entertained in reading about Eastern Jewel, a Chinese princess who was given up by her father for adoption by an influential Japanese man. She was later introduced into the world of espionage, which ultimately led to her downfall. The book is pretty racy, but very interesting to learn more of the relationship between China and Japan in the events leading up to World War II. This book is based off of the diary of Eastern Jewel, w ...more
AlexLovesBooks
This book tells the story of a Chinese princess who rejects her traditional role and becomes a notorious figure in pre-WWII Japan. Based on a true story, the premise of this tale is really interesting. Eastern Jewel's rebellious spirit leads her to flee her arranged marriage and become a Japanese spy. However, the writer fails to make Eastern Jewel a sufficiently sympathetic protagonist, and the story falls flat.

Despite how unfortunate her life was, I couldn't help but feel like she deserved a l
...more
Nae
Jul 21, 2012 Nae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author, Maureen Lindley, has a really deft way of painting the atmosphere of China and Japan surrounding the life of the last Chinese emperor in a way that was touchingly effective. I can't really say I liked the character of Eastern Jewel, as a person, very much and there just wasn't much of her behavior that I could empathize with, but given her background, the way she lived and the swirling change of governments and turmoil she had to navigate through that is understandable.
Kate
Apr 04, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast and fascinating read that I absolutely could not put down. Unlike the typical Asian female narrator (i.e. an Amy Tan heroine), Yoshiko aka Eastern Jewel is not ashamed of her weaknesses and is ruthless as she navigates a treacherous and fast-changing Eastern landscape across China, Japan, and Mongolia. While this is a novel, it relies on an excellent background of research by Lindley, and I was definitely inspired to learn more about the woman behind the story.
Jo
A fictional telling of the life of Eastern Jewel, a Chinese princess who became a spy for the Japanese and was executed for such actions by her own people. As I know nothing of Eastern Jewel, I can't say what was truth and what was literary licence. It was a decently written novel and I felt swept up in the life of the protaganist up to the last 60 or so pages when the writing suddenly began to drag and I ended up skim reading to the end.
Ariana
Apr 02, 2014 Ariana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would've gotten a higher rating for the writing if it weren't for the main character. I enjoyed the setting and how everything was described, but Eastern Jewel was a woman with little to be respected for.

Despite how unfortunate her life was, I couldn't help but feel like she deserved a lot of the misfortune because of how she behaved and treated others. The story was rather dense with narration instead of dialogue, but that wasn't the problem – it was the way everything was explained t
...more
Danielle
Pretty good book. It kept me interested, wanted to see what would be the end. It's not the greatest book I've ever read, but I do recommend it. It's a true story of a Chinese girl, sent to Japan to live with her uncle, who, as punishment, sends her to Mongolia to marry a prince. Eastern Jewel was a very independent, strong willed woman, in an age where women were worth less than animals.
Lady Alexandrine
Well written, rich with details, fascinating account of life of Eastern Jewel, a Chineese princess. She was a rebel from an early age, determined to live her life according only to her rules, with total disregard to other people or society wishes, values and traditions. As a small girl she was sent to live in Japan and chose Japan as her real homeland, which later made her betray her own nation. Eastern Jewel comitted acts of treason and espionage against her country.

The book was based on real h
...more
Deirdre
Oct 04, 2014 Deirdre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author explains at the start of this novel her intent in writing this story. Enamored by the real person Eastern Jewell, or Yoshiko Kawashima, the author wants to take what few brushstrokes of this woman's life that are known, and create a backstory to show compassion to the girl, the woman, who became the Japanese spy, who is later executed as a traitor to China. I was intrigued to read this book for this reason, the author's stated intent. A historical novel, a creative imagining of "what ...more
Cecelia Jardine-King
This book was quite a fascinating insight into other lives and challenged my feminist ideals from a modern perspective.
Micelle Coetsee
I enjoyed the authors writing style - being to the point and not overly emotional or descriptive.I started out all excited about the theme and the setting, the characters etc, but as the story continued I lost interest. It was scene after scene, just more of the same. There was no growth and insight gained by main character. In the end I felt cheated out of a resolution. If you like to browse through the personal diary of a promiscuous drug user, then this book is for you. But even in this genre ...more
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Maureen Lindley was born in Berkshire and grew up in Scotland. She was trained as a psychotherapist and also worked as a photographer, antique dealer and a dress designer before writing her first book, The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel. Maureen lives in the Wye valley on the Welsh borders with her husband.
More about Maureen Lindley...

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