A Tale of a Female Samurai in Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 4.16.45 PMFew of us know much about Japanese history, let alone in the 12th century. In her third novel, Sisters of Heart and Snow, Margaret Dilloway takes us into this world using the story of Tomoe Gozen, one of the only female samurai documented in Japanese lore. I had the pleasure of writing a feature article about this novel for the Historical Novel Society.

Dilloway’s debut novel, How to Be an American Housewife, is a story of “mothers and daughters, and the pull of tradition” as well as one of secrets and redemption. It also looks at the effects of a marriage blending American and Japanese cultures, and Dilloway continues this theme in Sisters of Heart and Snow.

This new novel blends historical and contemporary fiction to tell a tale of families and sisters. The story is set in a time of clan warfare and political double-dealing. A time when the samurai lived by an austere, unwritten code of personal courage and loyalty, and influenced the course of history. A time when poetry was considered an essential element of civilized life, when women powdered their faces, painted their mouths small and red, and shiny, black flowing hair was a mark of beauty.

The remainder of this article, including excerpts from an interview with Margaret Dilloway, can be found on the Historical Novel Society features page.

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