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Bridge of Scarlet Leaves is historical fiction at its finest. The author effortlessly weaves facts and fiction, creating a vibrant, heartfelt story of enduring love during a time of war and, in the case of Japanese-Americans, degradation. Maddie Kern is a violinist, seemingly destined for greatness, when she falls in love with Lane Moritomo, her brother's best friend and the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite their families' disapproval, they elope on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Lane and his family have suddenly become enemies of the nation, about to withstand the hardships, humiliation, and danger that entailed. This book takes us on a journey through relocation camps, the war in the Pacific, and the Homefront. All of the characters in this book undergo dramatic transformations as they struggle to survive the horrors and uncertainties of wartime. Loyalties are tested, injustices are dealt with, and all of them must learn how to survive without losing themselves along the way.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat Characterization, Story-Telling, and Historical Research Interwoven Together For A Great Novel
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2014
I've got to give kudos to this author and her attention to historical detail. The reader immediately gets how much research she has put into this and the care she has taken with the littlest of details. And there are just so many areas of WWII explored in this: intimate details of life in Japanese internment camps, the role of Nisei in the army, the horrific life in Japanese POW camps, the huge changes in the daily lives of Japanese American citizens on the West Coast both pre, during, and post war. The author brings it all to life in an astounding way.
The author pays just as much detail on her relationships and the characters in them. Every attachment between our characters is nuanced and has incredible depth. They ebb and flow with the changing events of WWII on the American home front to become something very different than in the beginning of the book. The author takes the time to illustrate how these historical events impact her characters and their lives in wonderful ways. The characters themselves are also varied and show the impact the war has on people. Every single individual goes through varied changes and emerges at the end of the war as a more rounded person, changed for better or worse by the heavy impact of war and prejudice.
I really enjoyed this novel. It tells an intriguing story in a historical setting that is researched well. The characters and their relationships show the author’s skills in the characterization and story-telling department. I would definitely read more books by this author. This was a great introduction to her and the era and setting in general.
4.0 out of 5 starswhich to me is the mark of a good book. Spoiler alert
Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2015
The reason I purchased this book was because I was interested in the subject matter of Japanese interment during WWII. Although only a small amount of the book actually took place in the camp, it was still very interesting to see how the Japanese in the US were treated during the war. What with the question of letting Syrian refugees into the US, this subject was somewhat timely.
The characters stayed with me for quite a while after I finished the book, which to me is the mark of a good book. Spoiler alert: I do not understand what purpose was served by killing off one of the main characters. I did become annoyed with the author because of that.
But, I do recommend reading this book. And if you get it for free with a Kindle download, you really have nothing to loose.
Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2018
Humans have the capacity to love as well as hate. In this historical novel this is delineated in a manner that will not only capture the reader's interest but their heart. People's inhumanity toward one another is abundantly clear throughout history. The author demonstrates the beauty that can occur when love conquers hate. Perhaps if we all learn from history we can accommodate our differences and avoid inhumane acts such as those illustrates in this novel. I highly recommend this book.
Story of a talented Caucasian-American violinist who marries her Japanese-American boyfriend the day before Pearl Harbor is bombed. It follows her life, as she tries to join her husband's family at a Japanese internment camp, her brother's travails as a captured airman in W.W.II and her husband's valiant attempt to restore his family's pride by his heroics in the war. While this is not fine literature, Kristina McMorris does her usual good job of gripping the reader's interest in a hard-to-put-down, fairly well researched novel of those times.
I've gotten to Chapter 24, page 137 and am not sure I will continue. This writer is way too pat in her novel! Yes, it is filled with all kinds of World War 2 lingo, music, and prejudices that ring true. But the characters and themes are so simplistic and predictable that it is hard to take the whole plot and writing serious. Too bad, but I probably won't waste too much more of my reading time on what could have been an in-depth novel of an exciting and horrific time in history.
This books deserves a strong 4 stars! As historical fiction it is excellent, and well researched. The author has done a good job of stepping into the era and she has not shied away from the harshness and reality of the time. As is so common, the characters sometimes make decisions that are questionable other than it continues to carry the plot along. Love, family dynamics, wartime necessity and much more figure into the story. I liked the fact that there were twists in the action that were unexpected. I can't help but wonder where the title came from though? I don't recall much about leaves or scarlet. I loved the authors notes at the end giving an explanation of many of the factors she included in the novel.
It is a good book so I won't spoil the ending. All I will say is that its really depressing and I like happy endings. This book does not have a happy ending. Really wished this had a happy ending. It could have had a happy ending but it didn't. That's why it deserves 4 stars. It evokes strong emotions, nearly made me cry and I never cry.