Evanston Public Library's Reviews > The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
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's review
Jan 30, 2009

Read in January, 2009

Soon after following her husband to Hong Kong in 1951, Claire Pendleton is hired as piano teacher to the daughter of a wealthy Chinese family and becomes involved with their chauffeur, an enigmatic Englishman haunted by memories of war with the Japanese and his relationship with a beautiful Eurasian socialite. Moving back and forth in time, this complex and richly atmospheric romantic thriller involving a missing Crown Collection of jewels, wartime crimes, deceit and betrayal, is also available on CD. (Susan R., Reader's Services)

The Piano Teacher concerns a naïve, young British woman, one Claire Pendleton, who is newly married to a dull Englishman who's been recently transferred as a civil servant to British-ruled Hong Kong. It’s 1951. Bored by her husband, she becomes a piano teacher to the daughter of the upper-class Chen family. Meanwhile, Claire is lured willingly into a passionate affair with the Chen family’s chauffeur, the mysterious Will Truesdale. As she becomes better acquainted with Truesdale, the Chen’s, and their insular circle of native Hong Konger and British ex-patriot friends, secrets unravel, revealing a war-torn past of betrayal, infidelity and intrigue. Juxtaposed between 1951 and 1942, author Janice Y. K. Lee’s novel is a fascinating look Hong Kong before, during and after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. (Russ K., Ref.)


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