The Fallen Persimmon by Gigi Karagoz

Thank you to the author and Love Books Tours for the copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Let’s start with the blurb: 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience. A page-turning suspense novel…

Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.

Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.

But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.

If you like a novel that builds suspense, is set in an exotic location, has a strong female lead, and a pinch of romance; then this book is for you.

Here’s my review: I’ve been fascinated with Japanese culture for years so this book appealed to me immediately. The lyrical prose gently embraced me, pulling me into Mari’s world. That same prose evoked a stifling sense of paranoia and fear as Mari realised the dark truth of her situation.

I would describe this a slow burner but that’s not always a bad thing, particularly when the description helps the reader cast off their reality and step into Japan. Once I got into it, this book had me hooked and I savoured it as I would a piece of chocolate melting on my tongue.

That ending though, wow… I’m saying no more, you’ll have to read it yourselves to find out! I’d recommend this to readers who enjoy a slow-burning, descriptive story with a strong female protagonist and a vivid cultural backdrop. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.