Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz

The Commoner    This is the endearing story of Haruko, a commoner, who marries the Crown Prince of Japan in the 1950's.   It's about a departure from tradition,that isn't as much of a departure as one may hope.

I loved the beginning part of this book - parts 1 and 2.   These describe Haruko's childhood, her education and most importantly, her relationship with her parents.  The interactions between Haruko and her father are especially endearing.   Enter the Crown Prince.  They meet at a tennis match.   He falls in love with Haruko because of her independent spirit but, even so, it is obvious from the beginning that a relationship between them will face challenges.

The biggest of these challenges is the current Empress of Japan - one of the most odious characters ever captured in print.

My biggest critique of this book is that I wanted MORE.  I wanted more details.  I wanted the characters, other than Haruko, to be fleshed out a bit more.  I wanted to know how an independent woman could let certain things happen?  The book could have been twice as long and I think would have been improved by more heft.  Still,  I enjoyed.  3 out of 5 stars for a skimpy second half.

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