Hardback cover Published by John Murray

Hardback cover
Published by John Murray

Paperback cover Published by John Murray

Paperback cover
Published by John Murray

Alison Jean Lester by Andrew Gurnett

Diana is young and uneasy in a new relationship when she leaves America and moves halfway around the world to Tokyo seeking adventure. In Japan she takes a job as a nanny to two-year-old Yuki Yoshimura and sets about adapting to a routine of English practice, ballet and swimming lessons, and Japanese cooking.

But as Diana becomes increasingly attached to Yuki she also becomes aware that everything in the Yoshimura household isn't as it first seemed. Before long, she must ask herself if she is brave enough to put everything on the line for the child under her care, confronting her own demons at every step.

Yuki Means Happiness is a rich and powerfully illuminating portrait of the intense relationship between a young woman and her small charge, as well as one woman's journey to discover her true self.

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Reviews and Praise

A mystery, a love story and a fascinating encounter with a different culture, Yuki Means Happiness is an outstanding novel. - John Boyne best-selling author of The Heart's Invisible Furies and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The theme of Alison Jean Lester’s novel is the maternal instinct, movingly evoked here in various guises. It’s funny, warm, scary — and thoroughly recommended. - John Harding, The Daily Mail (full review here)

Yuki Means Happiness is a love letter to a Japanese way of life. ... Lester has constructed her novel like an elegant piece of origami, every element deftly arranged into something as close to perfection as I can imagine. - Lucy Scholes, The National (full review here)

[S]he exposes the intricate detail of a woman’s life and, as before, she has the Midas touch. - Lyndsy Spence, The Mitford Society (full review here)

Early Reader Reviews

A Winner - Very difficult to put this book down. A good story that is so well written, subtle and yet intense and intriguing . I read this in four sittings because it has a beautiful flow and gets the reader involved. Enduring. - august on Amazon

A Refreshing Read - This for me was a lovely moving tale and one that I wanted to carry on reading and leave other stuff unfinished. - Alessi Lover on Amazon

We are treated to a wonderful, confident novel which explores the cultural differences between two very diverse countries... This novel is an exploration of culture, family, the self and much more. Immerse yourself and enjoy. - Moonless on Amazon

The characters were very believable and the main character and Yuki very easy to like and feel attached to... It made for an enjoyable and engrossing read and I would definitely like to read more by this author.  - Jossie Solheim on Goodreads

Beautifully written story. Good prose with well-developed and well-realized characters. - NormaCenva on Goodreads