Across a Bridge of Dreams is the first novel that I have read which is set in nineteenth century Japan. It follows Nobu and Taka who meet as teenagers in Tokyo. Nobu saves Taka, her mother and her aunt from an attacker at a restaurant. As a thank you, he is offered a job at their house. Soon Nobu and Taka become very close and Taka begins to teach him lessons. However, Nobu is from the north of the country (from Aizu), whilst Taka is from the Satsuma clan in the south. As tensions between the north and south begin to rise again, Eijiro Taka’s brother, banishes Nobu from the house and forbids any contact between the two. Even without the differences in their status it seems like the two of them are destined to be kept apart.
The plot itself is full of twists and turns, which centre around real historical events including the Satsuma Rebellion. It is very gripping and I was reading late into the night, desperate to find out what would happen. I enjoyed the way that Japanese fairytales were woven into the story, giving it a magical feel.
I loved Taka’s character, she is a strong heroine who is not afraid to follow her heart. She is also caring and puts her family, especially her mother, before her own needs. There is a strong Romeo and Juliet feeling to this book, it felt like the two forbidden lovers were destined to be kept away from one another.
I really enjoyed reading ‘Across a Bridge of Dreams’ and was fascinated by the Japanese culture and the historical background of the novel. I will definitely be on the look out for more books by Lesley Downer.
Recommended for fans of historical fiction.
I read this as part of the Transworld Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.