When Kasumi leaves her remote village for the teeming city of Edo, her life is transformed. As a lady - in - waiting in a samurai mansion she discovers a rare talent for art and falls in love with a young samurai. How could she ever return to the life of a simple mountain girl? But Kasumi must set aside her own concerns. Her country is on the brink of change and Edo is simmering with tension. And her mistress has a dangerous secret - a secret that Kasumi is gradually drawn into ... Set against the vivid backdrop of nineteenth - century Japan, THE PEONY LANTERN is a powerful story of art, love and friendship, and finding your own path.