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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris (Book Review)

Title: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Author: Kristina McMorris
Publisher: Kensington Publishing


About the Book: From the award-winning author of Letters from Home comes a poignant novel of love and courage, set against one of the most controversial episodes in American history: the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.
When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

My thoughts: This has definitely been one of my favorite books of 2012 - if not THE favorite.  I finished it in June and have neglected to review it because I didn't think that I would be able to do it justice - but here goes.
Maddie and T.J. are still dealing with the loss of their mother in a terrible car crash, followed by their father retreating into his own world as he can't deal with this loss.  That leaves T.J. to try to fill in for them in protecting/raising Maddie - who at 19 doesn't feel her brother needs to know everything about her life.  So when Lane, her brother's best friend, and Maddie fall in love - her brother is the last person they feel they can tell.
Inter-racial couples are looked down on during this time and in many states it is illegal to marry, so T.J. is not the only one that they are keeping their relationship secret from.  Lane's family is busy arranging for a bride to come over from Japan for Lane - and when he finds this out, he knows that he and Maddie must act soon - so they run off to Seattle to elope.  Only to awaken the next morning to a world torn apart by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Lane returns to his family and Maddie to hers - both of which learn what they have done and are incredibly hurt by what they see as a betrayal.  
Before Lane and Maddie can even be a family, the Moritomo's father is arrested and the rest of the family shipped off to an internment camp.  It isn't long before Maddie finds out where they have gone, and finagles her way in to be with Lane.  Where Lane isn't trusted outside the camp, Maddie isn't trusted within it - and her and Lane have to share a room with Lane's mother -- who hasn't liked Maddie from the start.  They are both struggling to figure out how they can adapt to their new reality.  
This is only the first half of the book though - I don't want to give too much more away, but it will definitely keep you turning the pages.  I finished reading this on a flight from Las Vegas and as I don't like to fly, this was a perfect book as it drew me in and before I knew it we were landing and the flight was over.  
There are reading group questions in the back and I think this would be an absolutely great book for a book club.  There are so many issues here with the whole interracial couple especially set against the back drop of WWII.  She also deals with issues of family, loyalty, forgiveness, loss.  Once again - I loved this book and highly recommend it!
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Rare Bird Lit in exchange for my unbiased review.~
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Publisher/Publication Date: Kensington Books, Feb 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7582-4685-1
431 pages

2 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Your love for this book is obvious in your review. I'm adding it to my wish list.

Anna said...

I'll be reading this one soon, so I'm so glad to see you loved it.

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