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The Ginger Tree
The Ginger Tree
Author: Oswald Wynd
A bestseller in England, this bittersweet story of love and betrayal in the Far East is the source of the Masterpiece Theatre miniseries. — In 1903, a young Scotswoman named Mary Mackenzie sets sail for China to marry her betrothed, a military attach? in Peking. But soon after her arrival, Mary falls into an adulterous affair with a young Japanes...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060973322
ISBN-10: 0060973323
Publication Date: 10/1990
Pages: 304
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 54 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 104 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
An amazing book....beautifully written. A bit slow in spots, but worth it for the rich detail. The story of a young, unspoiled woman in a loveless marriage in Japan at the turn of the last century who gets pregnant from a brief affair with a japanese nobleman and is turned out of the European community to make her way in a strange land. I rarely give a book 5 stars, but this one is a jewel!
reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
What a neat book and neat story. This is a total sleeper; you'd probably never think to pick it up and read it, but after you do, it stays with you and you're glad of it.
reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
What I loved most about this book is that the character feels very real. She changes and grows throughout the novel and acts in unexpected ways at times, unlike the thoroughly predictable, one-dimensional character found in many novels.

Slightly worn, but definitely readable.
reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
fantastic book about asian culture in the early 1900's. Wonderful fictional characters. Love, betrayal, affairs. all the good stuff
reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 82 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Betrothed to a military attache in Peking, twenty-year-old Mary MacKenzie sets sail for China with a frugal trosseau and a suffocating chaperone. But Mary, a young Scotswoman, is lively, curious and unspoiled. The year is 1903, and it will not be long before she scandalizes the British in Peking bay falling into an adulterous affair with a young Japanese nobleman. Her odyssey begins in earnest when she is torn from her small daughter and turned out of the European community. How she survives in an ancient Eastern culture that barely tolerates women, much less Westerners, is the story of The Ginger Tree, a compelling novel that spans more than forty tumultuous years in the Far East--including two world wars and the cataclysmic Tokyo earthquake of 1923.
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reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 1080 more book reviews
Sometimes a very good read sneaks up on you. So it was for me with The Ginger Tree. Mary MacKenzie, heroine and narrator, tells the story so well that I found myself wondering if this wasn't a true story but, no, when I checked, it was fictional. No doubt the author knew people who were like Mary or lived parts of a life like hers.

Mary tells her story flawlessly through diary comments and letters to those she knows and loves. The story seems to begin slowly drawing the reader in entry by entry until you begins to wonder what will happen to Mary.

The tale begins with Mary leaving Scotland to marry a man who lives in China. She barely knows Richard, and discovers that it is a poor match. Her husband, like many military men, seemed to have married her because he thought she had wealth. He is controlling and communicates little to a wife who needed affection. In addition, he is gone much of the time, and, because of her youth and background, she makes few friends.

Lonely, she finds herself drawn to a Japanese man who is mysterious and gentle. Her affair with him ends her life with Richard who takes their daughter and sends her to live with his parents. He intends to send her home to Scotland in disgrace but Mary travels to Japan instead. Her Japanese lover already has a family so she becomes his mistress. When she has a son, the boy is taken from her to be raised by a Japanese family. With this incident, Mary discovers that she is a survivor and makes a life of her own.

The story seems to begin slowly drawing the reader in entry by entry until you find yourself wondering what will happen to Mary. I loved her independence, her initiative, her understanding of her situation over and over, and her realistic reactions to the crises in her life.

When I read about the author I understood why the book is so outstanding. Wynd grew up and attended schools in Japan. And, he is Scottish, like his heroine. I couldn't help wondering why he turned to writing thrillers after this novel (as Gavin Black). If you haven't read this one, I urge you to do so. It will remain in my memory for a long time.
reviewed The Ginger Tree on + 32 more book reviews
I liked the book it was a little slow in parts but over all very interesting take on womens rights ant the history of Japan. I would love to see the masterpiece movie, next on my list