‘The Lantern Boats’ by Tessa Morris-Suzuki

THE LANTERN BOATS an utterly gripping and heart-breaking historical novel set in post-war Japan (Historical Fiction Standalones) by [TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI ]


Tokyo, 1951.

Elly Ruskin is trapped between worlds. Half-Japanese, half-Scottish, she is deported from Australia to Japan after the war, but Tokyo is a city Elly barely knows. In a whirlwind romance, she falls in love with a Scottish journalist and they marry.

Kamiya Jun is a teenage war orphan from the lost Japanese colony of Karafuto. He is smuggled to the mainland on a fishing boat. Captured by the police, he is handed over to the occupation forces, and finds himself unwillingly recruited to work in an underground intelligence unit run by a maverick American officer.

Now Elly thinks her husband is having an affair, and her suspicions will lead her down a treacherous path that will put everyone in danger. Jun might be the only person who can help her.

My Review

I absolutely love discovering new authors and Tessa Morris-Suzuki is certainly a new author for me.  Anybody who knows me well, knows that not only am I a book geek, I also love historical fiction with a particular focus on the Second World War and its aftermath.  So you can probably understand why the synopsis of ‘The Lantern Boats’ shouted ‘read me’ at me.  Well it did.  So I gathered up my supplies (cup of tea and a biscuit), grabbed my Kindle and settled down for what I hoped would be an interesting afternoon of reading.  I really enjoyed reading ‘The Lantern Boats’ but more about that in a bit.

It didn’t take me long at all to get into ‘The Lantern Boats’.  In fact by the time I got to the bottom of the first page, I knew that I was going to be in for a riveting read.  To say that reading ‘The Lantern Boats’ became addictive seems a bit of an understatement.  I would pick the book up only intending to read a couple of chapters but I would end up becoming so wrapped up in the story that I lost all track of time and I read way more than a couple of chapters- more like half a dozen chapters in one go.  I was intrigued to see in which direction the story was going to go.  The pages turned fairly quickly as I worked my way through the story.  All too quickly I reached the end of the story.  I found ‘The Lantern Boats’ to be a gripping read, which kept my attention throughout and which certainly kept me guessing.

‘The Lantern Boats’ is well written.   The author certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start and draw you into what proves to be a compelling read.  ‘The Lantern Boats’ is slightly different to the rest of the historical fiction that I read in that it is set in Japan and most of the historical fiction I read is set in either the United Kingdom or in Europe.  I love the way in which the author makes Japan come alive.  She describes the area so well that it would be easy to imagine that you were right there yourself if you closed your eyes.  I found ‘The Lantern Boats’ to be an enchanting and beautifully written story.

In short I really enjoyed reading ‘The Lantern Boats’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Tessa’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.

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