Lesley Downer - Author

About the Author

Lesley Downer’s mother was Chinese and her father a professor of Chinese, so she grew up in a house full of books on Asia.But it was Japan, not China, that proved the more alluring.She lived there for a total of some fifteen years.It has been an ongoing love affair.

She has written many books about the country and its culture.To research Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World, she lived among the geisha and little by little found herself being transformed into one of them. Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West, is the story of the turn-of-the-century Japanese actress who was the model for Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

Lesley has presented television programmes on Japan for Channel 4, the BBC and NHK.She lives in London with her husband, the author Arthur I. Miller, and still makes sure she goes to Japan every year. The Last Concubine is her first novel.

Featured books by Lesley Downer

Across a Bridge of Dreams

Across a Bridge of Dreams

Author: Lesley Downer Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/06/2012

Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over - or so it seems. Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now dominates the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma. Taka and Nobu's love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka's father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing. When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka's father and brothers, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice - between her family and the man she loves...

Other books by Lesley Downer

The Shogun's Queen The Shogun Quartet, Book 1

The Shogun's Queen The Shogun Quartet, Book 1

Author: Lesley Downer Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/07/2017

The year is 1853, and a young Japanese girl's world is about to be turned upside down. When black ships carrying barbarians arrive on the shores of Japan, the Satsuma clan's way of life is threatened. But it's not just the samurai who must come together to fight: the beautiful, headstrong Okatsu is also given a new destiny by her feudal lord - to save the realm. Armed only with a new name, Princess Atsu, as she is now known, journeys to the women's palace of Edo Castle, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. Behind the palace's immaculate facade, amid rumours of murder and whispers of ghosts, Atsu must uncover the secret of the man whose fate, it seems, is irrevocably linked to hers - the shogun himself - if she is to rescue her people . . .

The Shogun's Queen The Shogun Quartet, Book 1

The Shogun's Queen The Shogun Quartet, Book 1

Author: Lesley Downer Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/07/2017

The year is 1853, and a young Japanese girl's world is about to be turned upside down. When black ships carrying barbarians arrive on the shores of Japan, the Satsuma clan's way of life is threatened. But it's not just the samurai who must come together to fight: the beautiful, headstrong Okatsu is also given a new destiny by her feudal lord - to save the realm. Armed only with a new name, Princess Atsu, as she is now known, journeys to the women's palace of Edo Castle, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. Behind the palace's immaculate facade, amid rumours of murder and whispers of ghosts, Atsu must uncover the secret of the man whose fate, it seems, is irrevocably linked to hers - the shogun himself - if she is to rescue her people . . .

The Samurai's Daughter The Shogun Quartet, Book 4

The Samurai's Daughter The Shogun Quartet, Book 4

Author: Lesley Downer Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/07/2013

In the brave new Japan of the 1870s, Taka and Nobu meet as children and fall in love; but their relationship will test the limits of society. Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over - or so it seems. Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now dominates the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma. Taka and Nobu's love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka's father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing. When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka's father and brother, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice - between her family and the man she loves ...

Geisha for the American Consul (a short story)

Geisha for the American Consul (a short story)

Author: Lesley Downer Format: eBook Release Date: 06/12/2012

Two cultures. One man and one woman. One moment in time. Cultures collide when Okichi, a beautiful geisha, is sent to work for the American envoy in Japan. Age and pride meet youth and grace. How will she survive in a home where no one speaks her language, where she understands nothing and she must submit to a strange barbarian's will?

Across a Bridge of Dreams

Across a Bridge of Dreams

Author: Lesley Downer Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/06/2012

Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over - or so it seems. Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now dominates the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma. Taka and Nobu's love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka's father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing. When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka's father and brothers, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice - between her family and the man she loves...

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