This book was a fantastic read! I know, after all of my ho hum book reviews lately you didn't think that I would start a review off with those words did you.
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y K Lee was given to me as a gift quite a few - really QUITE! - years ago now, and it sat on the shelf. For some reason I wasn't sure about it. Perhaps it was the tagline "This seasons Atonement" on the cover. I never really got Atonement.
With my project to get my books read firmly on the agenda now for the last couple of years, when I reached this one on the shelf I had to read it though and I duly have. Well, actually I have to tell you that as I am writing this I still have the last couple of pages to read, but I skimmed ahead and feel that I can give you the review now. I loved it that much, I am that anxious to share it with you.
The story follows the lives of the newly married Claire Pendleton who has just moved to Hong Kong, and Will Truesdale and Trudy Liang. The book is based on historical fact and events that took place during the Second World War in Hong Kong, although it is obviously a work of fiction. I think that made me enjoy it even more because there was a sense of reality throughout the whole book. It really carried the story along very well and added an additional layer of interest.
There are two stories running concurrently though the book. that of Claire and Will and then that of Trudy and Will. There is some violence, but firmly rooted in historical fact and nothing gratuitous. While I wouldn't recommend it to a very young person an older teen onwards could enjoy this book, because there is no bad language - you know how I feel about that! - there are some "intimate" moments, but again these are part of the story, not just there for the sake of it.
I learned more about life in Hong Kong during this period too which I enjoyed. You have to sweep some things aside because it is history, we wouldn't do them now, but that was life then.
As I said, Claire has just married and moves with her husband to Hong Kong and they set up home and their very small suburban 1950's lives. Will has been living there for a lot longer and his and Trudy's story is told mostly during 1941 when Hong Kong was invaded by Japan and then on to the end of the war. Will and Claire meet 10 years later and it is through their growing relationship that the story is told.
I don't want to say too much otherwise I fear I will give too much of the plot away. What I can say though is this is a really good read, it makes you want to keep going and find out what is happening and where the story is going to go. You might think you know and then perhaps you are not so sure. Some things I figured out, others not so.
What would I rate this book? 10 out of 10!
How is your reading going? Have you read any good books lately. Do feel free to share. Also let me know what you think about fictional books set during historical fact. Do you enjoy them?
p.s. you can find all of my other book reviews here.