This is another engaging novel by Fleenor about about how an American non-conformist missionary and a Japanese woman in dire straits as a meshimorionna, a kind of geisha, meet and fall in love against the conventions of their respective cultures in 1885 and later. Fleenor unfolds a rich story against the backdrop of actual historical people and events that led one Japanese reader to astound, "I thought it was a biography about a real person!" The descriptions of Karuizawa and the active volcano, Mt. Asama, seem almost lyrical at times. The author does not wear a particular religious view on his sleeve and though he definitely imbibes of the Christian worldview he is empathetic with the Japanese cultural views and shows through his characterizations a thorough love and knowledge of Japan. The reader is surely likely to learn a lot about Japanese Culture but this will be likely driven by the reader's sustained interest in the unexpected drama to the very end.
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