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Lesley DownerOut of this heart-wrenching history, Schwartz has woven a delicate, elegiac tale, intensely moving and utterly convincing. He has imaginatively reconstructed the private story while remaining largely true to the scant details that have been reported to the public…Schwartz has clearly done extensive research into the lives of the empress and the crown princess and seems, as well, to have had extraordinary access to the Imperial Household Agency, whose members are the strictly traditional guardians of Japan's royal family and its elaborate court life. He vividly evokes the secrets and ceremonies of the imperial palace, including the wedding of Haruko and the crown prince and the ritual called the Daijosai, which takes place on the occasion of the new emperor's coronation and is performed by him alone and unseen. It's magical to have the curtain imaginatively lifted on these mysteries.
—The New York Times