Talk of Tokyo
by Heather Hallman
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Pub Date 10 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 20 Jan 2024
CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS
1897 Tokyo is no different than anywhere else in the world: men are exploiting women. Specifically, Western men are exploiting Japanese women, and Suki Malveaux holds no punches in her condemnation of their behavior in her weekly column in the Tokyo Daily News.
Suki knows firsthand when Western men arrive at Tokyo Bay there’s only one outcome for Japanese women: a child and new mother left behind as nothing more than discarded shrapnel from the heartless war on love.
Griffith Spenser is her latest target. He’s been seen with Natsu Watanabe, one of Tokyo’s esteemed war widows. Under full anonymity of the moniker “The Tokyo Tattler,” Suki makes sure Griffith knows exactly why his behavior with Natsu won’t be tolerated.
Away from her Japanese mask as a columnist, Suki never intended to meet the cad. When he seeks her out to hire as a tutor for his niece and nephew, she’s faced with seeing him day in and day out without him ever knowing who she really is.
Caught in her struggle for anonymity so she can keep battling for women’s rights, Suki’s about to learn the full impact of her words on the people behind the story, especially on Griff.
A Note From the Publisher
Heather lives in Tokyo with her professor husband and two young daughters. Once upon a time, she earned a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology for her thesis on adolescent friendship in Japan. Presently, she writes witty, sensual, contest-winning romances set in Meiji-era Japan (1868-1912).
Heather spends her free time translating ancient Japanese poetry and observing the passing of seasons while sipping green tea. Just kidding, she has no free time. But she does watch something that makes her laugh while she does the dishes.
Perennial obsessions include the weather forecast (she checks three different apps at least three times a day, as no single app can be trusted), Baltimore Ravens football (hometown obsession), and making smoothies that taste like candy bars.
Feel free to chat her up about any of her obsessions, or even better, about historical Japan—any era is fine, she loves them all.
She also enjoys exchanging book recommendations, discussions about the craft of romance writing, and stories about life in present-day Tokyo.
I have been SO EXCITED about this story!
I love that it brings us to Japan (I have been begging for more Asian romance settings and have only seen a handful of suggestions) and that unique time period of Meiji era. Japan has opened her borders and is on the cusp of many changes within its culture.
Hallman does a wonderful job of immersing us in the land, scenery and culture. Subtly woven into events, observations and discussions it flows so you can envision the beautiful carp streamers, traditional dress, and cherry blossoms. I loved these aspects of the story, adored leaving the London scene I’ve been in for so many stories.
Griff is our hero. Rumors surround him since his wife left him soon after their move to Japan. Now he’s been seen around town with a war widow and Suki makes some assumptions about his character and relationship perhaps a bit unfairly due to her own background. Griff turns out to be one of the sweetest heroes, strong yet gentle, and I really fell for him.
Suki is such a unique heroine and I adored her. She writes a gossip column under the Tokyo Tattler but dreams of more prestigious stories. She also teaches at a school and speaks French, Japanese, and English. She’s hardworking, funny, kind and caring.
Something I really found refreshing about this book was nothing quite happened the way I thought it would. Some romances can feel predictable after awhile, and I’ll be honest, with some of the secrets these two had going on I brought some assumptions forward about what would happen and was happy to get a more unexpected story.
This story I found to be fun, smart, sweet, engaging, and a bit adventurous. I found the ending to have a unique resolution and I loved the couple’s tenacity to solve their mystery. I am totally going to be following this series.
Average rating from 4 members
Talk of Tokyo by @heatherhallman_author is fantastic!
If you're a Bridgerton fan, look no further, this is the book for you. I am only a semi fan, if you can call yourself that, but I loved this book and it gave me some major regency vibes! Talk of Tokyo tells the story of an undercover gossip columnist (hence the bridgerton feels), Suki, who begins to fall for one of the foreign men who her column often calls out for being flippant in their love affairs with Japanese women, only to inevitably abandon them to return home at some point. Suki begins to see though that Griff is not quite the person her column has depicted him to be, and that maybe he is someone she might want to pursue, as long as he doesn't get in the way of her dreams of being a full-fledged journalist (and for a female in the late 1800s, that's not an easy feat).
This one is definitely a slow burn romance but there are lots of steamy scenes in the latter half of the book. The historical fiction romance brings in lots of interesting details about Japan during the 1890s and what life for the foreign and domestic members of the elite classes was like. I really liked both the female lead and her romantic interest, Griff, who was also the main character in some chapters, though it wasn't a classic alternate narration after each chapter situation (which I'm happy about!)
I would 100% recommend this one and I will definitely have to go back and read the prequel. I also heard a little rumour about another #TokyoWhispers book coming out soon! Thanks to @netgalley the publisher @boroughspubgrp for giving me the chance to read and review this fantastic book!
Ms. Hallman's Talk of Tokyo tells the story of Suki Malveux, a teacher who has the ambitions of being a journalist. Suki's alter ego of the Tokyo Tattler resembles the Lady Whistledown character of the Bridgerton series, where this writer pens the details of the high society in Tokyo, both Japanese-born and foreign residents. As Suki pursues the story that will give her the journalistic break she's looking for, she crosses paths and gets well-acquainted with Griffith Spencer, a victim of her gossip column.
The relationship between Griff and Suki progresses well over time, although the book's ending seemed a little rush, with the resolution packed into the epilogue. The characters work well together and the world building is solid.
I love this 'trope': mystery/hidden identity. This has so many intricacies that are well written and you fall in love with the culture. It felt as though you are reading a tabloid but understanding the people behind it. I loved the way they came up on each other, and the way she holds her own in her life and career was so fulfilling. I need some of her courage!