The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai by Barbara Lazar

A young girl transforms tragedy into triumph.


It’s late-12th-century Japan, and the relations between two dominating clans are increasingly heated. Young Kozaisho is living happily with her family when the nobleman who owns their land demands to buy her. With her family in poverty, her father has no choice but to accept. Kozaisho leaves, struggling to keep her tears in check for the sake of her family, knowing she’ll likely never see them again. That begins Kozaisho’s coming of age journey from child dancer to woman for hire to samurai. The path is punishing. Her saving grace: a talent for storytelling. Her tales cast a spell over clients and help her gain friends, power and notoriety in the village of outcasts she finds herself in. A suspenseful story of love, sacrifice and honour and an absorbing study of a strong-willed woman trying to make her way in a world ruled by men.

The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai, Barbara Lazar, $16. Available at and


Subscribe to our newsletters for our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.