I'd give this book about 3.5 stars. If I'm comparing it to other books that I've rated as 4 stars, I just can't give it a rating that rounds up to 4. It was a very good book, and I would recommend it to others. But for me, several parts of the plot were a bit predictable, and while I enjoyed it, it wasn't a book that I "couldn't put down" -- which is a minimum required element for a higher rating from me.
This story is touching and lovely one moment and quite sad the next. It was not at all what I had expected as for some reason I expected the story to be more about the items and former owners of the items found at the hotel. Instead it is a hauntingly beautiful story of human relationships; parents and their children; young love; Japanese culture; Chinese culture; and the United States government so frightened of the Japanese they actually punished innocent Japanese Americans. I knew there were camps where the Japanese Americans had to live during World War II but was so blind I did not know they were treated badly and held in such terrible conditions!
Oh! Sheldon had to be my favorite character. He was a father figure for Henry who gave Henry the love of jazz. I was rather surprised to find a saxophone player in that area of the U.S. playing jazz because I have related jazz to the New Orleans area.
There are several scenes that have stayed with me. It has been several weeks since I listened to this book. The scenes when Henry and Keiko visited the club was great; I loved it that Henry always took his mother her favorite flower but my very favorite scene was the final scene which I will not describe because it is important to save it for last.
As I think back on the book I guess the main character Henry is my most memorable character. His entire life is truly "bitter and sweet."
First please excuse my poor punctuation. My comma key has decided not to work today! Second in regard to the history of World War II I was a small child during that time and still remember my mother's fear of the Japanese. Her brother was in the Marine Corps and they only knew he was on an island in the Pacific where the fighting was fierce. I think it's important to realize how frightened Americans were during those years.
This is a wonderful story and I thoroughly enjoyed the audible reading. I loved following the chinese family through Henry and the Japonese family through Kako during the forties and later in the nineties.
I loved the narrator and the story and the author's excellent descriptions of places and events was fantastic.
When Harry's son realized his father had loved this woman his whole life but sacrificed those feelings for the honorable commitment to his wife.
I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.
What a wonderful story! I never really thought about the treatment of the Japanese during WWII - there isn't much in the history books at school. This book really brought it to life. It is a heartwarming book that immerses you in Chinese and Japanese cultures on the West Coast of American during the WWII. It is a truly fascinating story!
Yes, this is a compelling story with an unexpected perspective.
This book is well written. You will be forced to read on to see what happens.