The Secret Language of Women
(Wayfarer Trilogy #1)
Giacomo Scimenti/Zhou Bin Lian
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Winner of the Independent Publishers Book Awards (Gold Medal, Romance)
Set in China in the late 1800’s, The Secret Language of Women tells the story of star-crossed lovers, Zhou Bin Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, driven apart by the Boxer Rebellion.
When Lian is seventeen years old, she accompanies her Swiss father, Dr. Gianluca Brasolin, fluent in Italian, to tend the Italian ambassador, at the Summer Palace of Empress Dowager, where she meets and falls in love with Giacomo.
Through voyage and adventure, their love intensifies, but soon is severed by Lian’s dutiful promise as the wife to another. Forbidden from pursuing her chosen profession as a healer, and despised because she does not have bound feet, she is forced to work in a cloisonné factory while her in-laws raise her daughter, Ya Chen. It is in Nushu, the women’s secret writing, that she chronicles her life and her hopes for the future.
Rebelling against the life forced upon her, she empowers herself to act out against the injustice and becomes the master of her own destiny. But her quest for freedom comes at a costly price: The life of someone close to her, lost in a raging typhoon, a grueling journey to the Yun-kang Caves, and a desperate search for beauty and love in the midst of brutality.
This is one of those rare books that when you finish it, you don’t want to leave it and start the next. You want to savor it some more and go back and relive it all over again. It’s also the type of book that makes it almost impossible to review, in that I could never do it justice with my lack of ability to express how perfect it really is.
Giacomo Scimenti is an Italian sailor stationed in China in the late 1890’s. Giacomo is the chief steward and cook aboard the gunship Leopardo. While standing as honor guard at The Summer Palace in Peking, he sees the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen…
Zhou Bin Lian is the only daughter from the marriage of a Swiss doctor and a Chinese woman. Now a widower Lian’s father has set up a practice in southern Peking. Fluent in both Mandarin and Italian he is called to The Summer Palace to treat the Italian Ambassador who has fallen ill, bringing Lian as his assistant. Little does Lian know that she will meet the love of her life…
This is an extremely well-written book. I’m truly in awe! Right from the start, Ms. Romano enchanted me with her writing, she didn’t tell me a story she showed it to me. I felt drawn into the story and had a hard time putting it down throughout the day. The descriptions from the story, the characters, the culture, the history, even the food are richly detailed. I could easily see this book and series made into a movie. It was truly an emotional experience to read Giacomo and Lian’s love story, although it was so much more than just a love story…. I won’t go into any more detail as this story has to be experienced firsthand. It truly is a unique reading experience and one I plan on enjoying and revisiting for years to come.
This was the first book I’ve had the pleasure of reading from author Nina Romano but it most definitely will not be the last. Ms. Romano has become an auto-buy for me & I highly recommend this book! If I could, I’d easily give it 10 stars!
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The Secret Language of Women – Nina Romano: