Thomas, Sherry. The Hidden Blade. Austin: Sherry Thomas, 2014. ISBN-13: 9781631280085. Print List Price: $12.99.
As I have discussed previously, I have a marked bias to British historicals, and despite my Southeast Asian background, I was never really interested in anything that had to do with, say, China. But this book, by China native Sherry Thomas, has a good balance of both England and China, telling the parallel stories of the childhoods of her two protagonists for the follow-up novel, My Beautiful Enemy. Leighton also travels to a number of other locations while on the run, and near the end of the book is with his mother and brother in Honolulu (my hometown), with plans for the trip including a visit to the very familiar Manoa Falls. I love that this author gave me a new appreciation for where I live and a new fascination with my own heritage.
This book isn’t really a romance, as it is all set-up of the characters’ backstories, but this is an intriguing way to be introduced to new characters. In many books, writers will either reveal bits of the characters’ pasts throughout the book using flashbacks, dropping it into conversation, or a prologue, or some mix of all three. But this method allows for more development of the characters, and I hope to see it pay off in the next book.
Herb was one of my favorite characters, and the one that connects the two plotlines together. His story highlights the injustice of the way homosexuals were treated, back when it was illegal.