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The Hidden Blade: A Prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY
     

The Hidden Blade: A Prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY

4.2 7
by Sherry Thomas
 

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In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of

Overview

In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and independence.

Half a world away in England, a young boy's idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend--but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.

The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.

CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON meets DOWNTON ABBEY, this remarkable tale of friendship, danger, and coming of age will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.

A prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940149684069
Publisher:
NLA Digital LLC
Publication date:
07/21/2014
Series:
The Heart of Blade Duology , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
178,660
File size:
386 KB

Meet the Author

Sherry Thomas burst onto the scene with PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008. Her sophomore book, DELICIOUS, is a Library Journal Best Romance of 2008. Her next two books, NOT QUITE A HUSBAND and HIS AT NIGHT, are back-to-back winners of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award for Best Historical Romance in 2010 and 2011. Lisa Kleypas calls her "the most powerfully original historical romance author working today."

Her story is all the more interesting given that English is Sherry's second language--she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's SWEET SAVAGE LOVE with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession.

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The Hidden Blade: A Prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
kreads4fun More than 1 year ago
A must read before picking up My Beautiful Enemy. This isn't just a short prequel, it is actually the first half of a lengthy novel. Neither one really stands alone, but together they are a beautifully rendered story as only Sherry Thomas can craft.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas Book One of The Heart of Blade duology Publication Date: July 20, 2014 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and independence.  Half a world away in England, a young boy's idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend--but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.  The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.  CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON meets DOWNTON ABBEY, this remarkable tale of friendship, danger, and coming of age will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.  A prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY. What I Liked: I love Sherry Thomas's books. Her YA series, The Burning Sky/The Perilous Sea/Book three, is amazing! One of my favorite YA series ever. I'm a huge historical romance fan as well, and I plan on reading some of her historical romance novels. This particular novel is not a historical romance novel - it is the prequel to a historical romance novel, My Beautiful Enemy. The Hidden Blade details the childhoods of Leighton, an English boy, and Ying-ying, a Chinese girl. Leighton's father and mother are somewhat estranged - his mother goes to meet another man once a month, and has a child by the man. Leighton's father has found comfort in the arms of a man, Herb, but his father hates that he is homosexual. This book is set in the late eighteen hundreds, so it was politically and religiously "wrong" to be homosexual. Leighton's father and Herb are caught by Sir Curtis, Leighton's father's brother and patriarch of the family. The father kills himself, the mother and her bastard son are sent away, and Herb runs for his life. Leighton, a child of about eleven, must live with Sir Curtis, a prison-like life. He cannot escape, cannot leave the house, cannot run. Meanwhile, Ying-ying leaves as the daughter of a concubine. Da-ren is not her father, but an unknown Englishman is. Ying-ying is not well-accepted in the Chinese society because she is the illegitimate daughter of a foreigner and an unmarried woman, and that woman is now a concubine. When her mother dies, she and Amah (a woman that has been taking care of her and training her in martial arts) move to Da-ren's home - which is a prison of its own. This book is extremely sad. It's heartbreaking to watch the two stories parallel each other, because both children suffer so much, at young ages, in different situations. My heart hurt for both characters, for their losses, for their pain, for what they could have had. Neither character meets the other in this book, but they are bound by one thread. It was an interesting connection, though it was sad to see that they never actually met. The storytelling is rich and intriguing. Thomas switches back and forth, between Leighton and Ying-ying's story. Thomas's writing is beautiful and purposeful, as always. She infuses so much culture and history into this book. I loved seeing the portrayal of women's roles in England and in China, the presence of homosexuality in England and in China - how different and yet how striking each "world' was. Very well done by Thomas. Overall, I have a solidly positive outlook on this book - there were just some things that didn't work for me. What I Did Not Like: Why this book received three stars from me has nothing to do with the quality of the book. Thomas wrote an AMAZING prequel novel. The stories of Leighton and Ying-ying are beautiful and powerful, and I'm sure they put things into perspective for readers who plan on reading My Beautiful Enemy (I haven't decided if I want to read it or not). My problem was, this book was entirely too heartbreaking for me. I spent the ENTIRE novel feeling desolate or angry and agonized or upset. While that definitely shows the skill of the writer, for making her reader so emotionally distraught while reading the book, it wasn't something I enjoyed. I didn't LIKE reading this book. I didn't enjoy feeling distraught. Sadly, there were times when I struggled to keep reading, because I wasn't enjoying the reading.  Again, this doesn't really have to do with the storytelling, the quality of the story, the genre, etc. The story made me incredibly sad and angry and I couldn't find myself liking the book as I was reading it. Do you see the distinction? I liked the book overall, but I didn't find myself enjoying it as I was reading it. I definitely cannot see myself rereading it. Would I Recommend It: Ehh. Not quite. Some people might like reading about hopelessness and despair and tragedy - personally, I don't. I try to read for enjoyment, enlightenment, enrichment, but not necessarily for sadness and heartache. Rating: 3 stars. A great book! Definitely a well-written piece of literature. Just... not my type of read, in terms of the sadness and tragedy. Love the historical fiction though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
Sherry Thomas is a beautiful writer and her stories are complex and emotional. Yet there is always a happy ending. This is not a romance but, rather, a prequel that sets the stage for My Beautiful Enemy,introducing the hero and heroine in childhood as they come of age, Ying-ying in China, Leighton in England. I will warn you now. This is a very powerful and extremely sad story about evil, imprisonment, blackmail, and cruelty, but there is hope at the end. And, after such angst, I should certainly hope so! The one character tying them together is Herb Gordon, a close friend of Leighton’s father and later, Ying-ying’s English tutor in China. He is a beautiful and kind soul, who loves wholly and who becomes a very special person to both Ying-ying and Leighton. "There was no force in the world strong enough to tear apart the bonds of their friendship." The trials and hardships that Ying-ying and Leighton each endure are heartbreaking and almost too much to bear. Both are prisoners, but they are both strong and I cannot wait to read their happy ending next.  "…everyone around him was a prisoner of some sort…" Leighton is a lonely young boy who learns the meaning of true love. He is thwarted and manipulated at every turn yet through the kindness of strangers, he manages to find a way forward. His beloved tutor, Mr. Colmes, the sisters Violet and Mrs. McHenry, and even his horrifying uncle’s new wife all save him in little increments. Yet his spirit endures. “It could happen, the upending of life as one knew it. It could happen anytime.”  Evil is embodied in Sir Curtis and Sherry Thomas has written a truly frightening character, one of the worst I have ever read. The cover of this book is gorgeous and aptly depicts Ying-ying’s strength and power. She is the daughter of a courtesan and an Englishman who lives with her beloved amah—at once a nanny, friend, guardian, and tutor—in the household of her mother’s protector. What is most impressive and amazing about Sherry Thomas’ writing is that English is not her native language. And it’s fitting that she finally write a story featuring her native country.  If you enjoy a good story with wonderful solid writing, you will not be disappointed with this quietly compelling novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago