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The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas
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For those of you who have been a fan of Sherry Thomas's historical romances and for those of you who love her for her YA fantasy this is the best of both worlds.

The Hidden Blade is a YA historical adventure spread across England and China, and it's gorgeous! On one side there is a quiet British boy, Leighton Atwood, whose dad commits suicide shamed and blackmailed for his love of another man, Herb. Leighton is suddenly taken away from a loving, carefree family and put into care of his unbending, fanatical, sadistic, horrid uncle and he has to struggle for every ounce of freedom until finally he runs away in search of Herb.

On another side of the world there is Ying-Ying, a young girl who grows up in the shadow of her beautiful mother, - a long-standing, beloved concubine of Da-ren, a powerful government official of China. Ying-Ying is a half-breed, and doesn't feel like she belongs, so when her mom dies, she is taken into care of her Amah (nanny) and discovers that the woman is not who she seems. Amah is a part of ancient military order, and Ying-Ying becomes her new recruit.

Ironically the only thing that connects Leighton and Ying-Ying - two such different characters, is Herb. Among all the heartbreak and adventure, he is the one Leighton seeks, and the one who ends up teaching Ying-Ying English. Read for yourself about their dramatic journeys in between...

This was a fantastic, absorbing, heartbreaking read, and I wholly recommend it. My Beautiful Enemy finishes Leighton and Ying-Ying's story years later, and I recommend you to grab it and read it straight away after The Hidden Blade. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
The Hidden Blade is a coming of age tale of two children, Leighton Atwood and Catherine Blade (Ying-Ying). While Leighton struggles to overcome tragedy and the cruelty of his austere uncle, who attempts to imprison him on his estate, Ying-Ying trains to become a martial artist to defend herself in Peking China and a be worthy of her austere step-father. The story flips between the two characters, with their connection being Leighton's friend, and his father's lover, the teacher Herbert Gordon, who teaches Ying-Ying English.

It takes place in the late 1800s and is a prequel to the romance novel, My Beautiful Enemy.

In some respects the Hidden Blade is the better novel, not quite as many plot contrivances. Yet, it does feel unfinished, and definitely a prequel. You should read both books, each would, I think be incomplete without the other.

( )
  cmlloyd67 | Jun 7, 2015 |
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