Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fantastic! I love a book that can teach me something about history while maintaining an incredible story line.
The setting in the beginning of the book takes place in California just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor which then of course was the start of WWII. The story revolves around three main characters, Maddie Kern, her brother TJ Kern and TJ's best friend Lane Moritomo who is the son of Japanese immigrants.
Lane and Maddie fall in love but hide it from TJ. Due to Lane's Japanese heritage his parents plan to bring a bride from Japan to California for him to marry. Lane doesn't agree with all that goes along with his parent's customs so he refuses and convinces Maddie to elope with him. Nobody knows of their arrangement because interracial marriage is not only frowned upon pre-WWII, it's illegal in 30 states.
As they are having their quick weekend honeymoon in Seattle, Pearl Harbor is attacked. Lane quickly realizes whites are blaming him for Japan's bombing the United States. Maddie and Lane make haste back to California where TJ discovers what they did and demands they divorce.
When Lane returns home he finds the FBI in his house arresting his father simply because he works at a bank in California that is owned by the Japanese. Lane, his mother and sister are forced to one of the many internment camps made for those with as little as 1/16 Japanese heritage. Lane files for divorce simply to save Maddie from the embarrassment and criticism he's sure she'll suffer for being married to a Japanese man.
Maddie refuses to sign the papers and tracks Lane down to his internment camp and resides with him and his family. TJ on the other hand, he's had enough, between his sister marrying his best friend and the anger he feels for that betrayal, he joins the Army and is shipped off to the Pacific.
Lane is embarrassed of his and his families conditions, anger at the country which he loves so much, angry that Maddie is willing to sacrifice so much for him, it hurts his pride. He too joins the military for intelligence, to put his language to good use for his country. To prove himself...to find himself.
The book continues on as Maddie, Lane’s mother and sister move on to another location. Lane is also shipped to the Pacific. What effect will the war have on these three characters? Read to find out! Amazing, wonderful book.
This book is easily five stars for me. As I mentioned, a book that teaches me so much with such a fantastic story is a winner. The book was well researched and the fact that the author is the daughter of a white American mother and Japanese immigrant father gives her a lot of credit too. I have not read her other book Letters From Home, but look forward to doing so. If you liked, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I can nearly guarantee that you will like this book too.
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