Nina Romano is a wonderful storyteller. She gives the reader so much to love in The Secret Language of Women, the first book in the Wayfarer’s Trilogy.

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  • Title: The Secret Language of Women
  • Author: Nina Romano
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing on September 29, 2015
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Pages: 372
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to Nina Romano for gifting me a free copy of The Secret Language of Women. No review was requested. I offer one now as thanks to Nina.

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Murder, Rape, Abortion

Available Now on Amazon

Synopsis of The Secret Language of Women

Set in China in the late 1800’s, The Secret Language of Women tells the story of star-crossed lovers, Zhou Bin Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, driven apart by the Boxer Rebellion.

When Lian is seventeen years old, she accompanies her Swiss father, Dr. Gianluca Brasolin, fluent in Italian, to tend the Italian ambassador, at the Summer Palace of Empress Dowager, where she meets and falls in love with Giacomo.

Through voyage and adventure, their love intensifies, but soon is severed by Lian’s dutiful promise as the wife to another. Forbidden from pursuing her chosen profession as a healer, and despised because she does not have bound feet, she is forced to work in a cloisonné factory while her in-laws raise her daughter, Ya Chen. It is in Nushu, the women’s secret writing, that she chronicles her life and her hopes for the future.

Rebelling against the life forced upon her, she empowers herself to act out against the injustice and becomes the master of her own destiny. But her quest for freedom comes at a costly price: The life of someone close to her, lost in a raging typhoon, a grueling journey to the Yun-kang Caves, and a desperate search for beauty and love in the midst of brutality.


My Review

Lian is the mixed-race daughter of a Swiss father and a Chinese mother, living in China. It is a very dangerous time to be foreign because of the Boxer Rebellion. So, when Lian falls in love with an Italian sailor, both of their lives are at greater risk.

Unfortunately, Lian’s great love, Giacomo, answers the call to duty and is unable to reach Lian to let her know. Once Lian accepts that Giacomo is not going to come back for her, she leaves the city. She returns to her grandmother and an arranged marriage. The marriage is not a happy one, and after some time, Lian runs from her husband to start over. But the fresh start was not what she expected, and Lian loses the most important thing in her life, her love child with Giacomo.

Lian goes through the motions of living, but she is not experiencing life. She puts one foot in front of the other and goes on. This tenacity is what I admire most about Lian, and why she is my favorite character. We share the same powerful ability to keep moving forward.

Later, Lian and Giacomo find each other again. However, Lian is no longer the carefree girl she was when they first fell in love. The relationship struggles while each try to overcome the feelings of the past. Plus, it is even more dangerous now with Boxers on every corner.

My favorite part of this novel is the beginning and the promise of new love. Though this beginning left me unprepared for the rest of the story. Still, I chose to hang on. Had I not, I wouldn’t know Lian’s strength and compassion.

One thing I wish I could change is the author’s habit of using “big” words. The author uses a lot of unfamiliar words. I had to stop to look these words up, which kept me from getting carried away by the story. For example, in one part where it is drizzling rain, the author uses the word mizzling to describe the rain, which I thought was a mistake, so I checked to be sure it wasn’t.

Even so, I do love the book, and I look forward to reading the next two books in the series. I am happy to award The Secret Language of Women 4 out of 5 stars. Anyone who has a love of history, romance, and different cultures will love this book.

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