"A time travel you won't want to miss."
Thrown back in time through a magical mirror, Emiko Maeda
finds 19th Century Japan a hazardous place for a modern
outspoken Japanese-American, where just being female in
that strict era was dangerous enough on its own. Add to
that, she drops right into the broiling conflict between
Shogans and Shinsegumi and must learn to maneuver her way
through a myriad of political intrigues and manipulations
all the while keeping her head on her own shoulders --
Kaemon Nakagawa doesn't know what to make out of the
little beauty he pulled from the mirror. Is she a demon?
One of his enemy's spies? Or is she what she claims, a
woman lost from the future? And in any case, what should
he do about her? Emiko has an uncanny ability to not only
get herself in trouble, but drag him into it, every time
he leaves her to her own devices.
The author's tone throughout is a pleasure to read. She is
able to convey several light moments, such as accidentally
dropping a full chamber pot onto a powerful vice
commander, while at the same time, demonstrating the
difficulty of navigating through the strict social
structures such as walking on the wrong side of a man. The
undercurrent of how dangerous this time period and place
really was for a woman is masterfully woven in without
dominating or weighing down the flow of the story.
What charmed me most about Mirror, Mirror is seeing the
Shogans and 19th Century Japan through Emiko's eyes and
sarcastic wit. This passage shows just how vivid the
writing style is. "It was strictly a movie-type maneuver
they said a "real" swordsman wouldn't use since a "real"
swordsman wouldn't be stupid enough to invite an open
attack from a dozen guys. And still think he could come
out on top. Of course, Kaemon Nakagawa hadn't ever seen a
movie to know any better. "
At first glance, Emiko and Kaemon don't make a likely
couple. I mean, really, a samurai prince who not only
demands to be obeyed, but by his upbringing, expects it as
his due? However, thanks to peeks at his kind heart
beneath the stern exterior, and their forceful wills, they
are able to withstand all the intrigues and turmoil
surrounding them to become a couple to cheer for and hope
they get that happily ever after.
Mirror, Mirror is a fast-paced delight with unforgettable
characters thrown together in an unforgiving period of
Japanese history. Readers of time-travels won't want to
miss this one.
Reviewed by Clover Autrey
Posted May 27, 2007