NOTE: I received this book from the publisher. Thank you!
The Commodore's Daughter is a really good novel about adventure, courage and honor. It's about loyalty, obedience and following our heart. It's also about women's rights and the right way to acquire them.
The voice of the POV was really alluring, making me want to turn the pages without taking time to stop. The story was unique and to be honest, I had no idea it was partially based on a true story. I do know however, that it was an original plot centered around the adventures of a 15 year old girl in the land of Japan.
The Japanese culture from all those centuries ago is very well described, and I was fully able to immerse myself into that unknown to me world. I could 'see' everything through my mind in detail as if I'd been there myself. Also, the characters were lively, making me experience their emotions as if they were my own. I could understand their way of thinking and I was really grateful that all the Japanese words were written in context of the events - if the main character was meant to understand them then I did alongside her.
Now, onto the characters:
Jennifer was a unique girl for the century she lived in. She was supposed to marry a man her had found to be 'good' for her, but she utterly refused and ran away. Ultimately, she ended holed up in her father's ship and that's how her voyage to the distant and terrifying land of Japan began.
I liked Jennifer for her spirit of independence. In the age where women had no rights, marriages were arranged for the social classes and obedience to the father figure was almost absolute, Jennifer stood out as a rebel. I'm not sure what would've happened to her had she not overslept in her father's closet, but I do know that there wasn't a better place for her than Japan. She basically flowered there. She became her true self - a brave girl, honorable and respectful.
She took up the Bushido code way more seriously than I expected, and that may have just saved the lives of thousands.
I was honestly impressed by her - I mean, she was stranded all alone among the Japanese whose law demands that no foreigner is to be left alive; she only spoke English, and the Japs only spoke Japanese... and Jennifer not only survived to tell the tale, but she actually made friends, learned the Japanese language and customs and even some martial arts! In my opinion, that's quite a lot to expect from a young girl. Yet, perhaps because of her age she was quick to think, agile to learn and innocent enough to be able to befriend some kindhearted people.
Keiko, was the daughter of a samurai. The samurai who saved Jennifer and took her in his home. I think Keiko was just the type of friend Jennifer needed. She was kind, loving, driven, honest and honorable. She was also keen to learn and teach, and had strategically placed friends of her own. Together, the two girls turned into young women driven by the purpose to save the relations between two great nations.
Ruy (I think) was this farmer boy, who came into Jennifer's life with a flash. He did not stop surprising me till the end of the story. He was not who he pretended to be (most of the time) - or rather, he was too many things at once to even begin to understand his many layers. He was brave though and there was honor in him and loyalty to the right person.
The last character I want to mention is Jennifer's father. The guy was a sea wolf. The majority of his life was spent on a ship, away from his family and close to roughened up men. Which is why his love and kindness toward Jennifer felt special to me. Sure, he did pretend to act as if he was so superior and nothing could unearth him, but seriously? He was a girl's daddy - soft and meek on the inside. I really think he appreciated Jennifer even more for becoming the independent young woman she was in the end. He was truly an impressive man.
In conclusion, I'd like to say that The Commodore's Daughter was an enjoyable read that introduces the lively world of Japan from a couple of centuries back as it clashes with the newly found freedom of a teenage girl.
My rating is 4/5 stars