In this poignant and evocative novel by acclaimed author Kristina McMorris, a country is plunged into conflict and suspicion—forcing a young woman to find her place in a volatile world.
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.
Skillfully capturing one of the most controversial episodes in recent American history, Kristina McMorris draws readers into a novel filled with triumphs and heartbreaking loss—an authentic, moving testament to love, forgiveness, and the enduring music of the human spirit.
"Impeccably researched and beautifully written.” --Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
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Love prevails over everything!
(Saturday, May 26, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund
In a heart wrenching and emotionally charged story, Kristin McMorris brings us a full circle glimpse at the intertwined lives of two families, one Caucasian and the other affluent Japanese American living in Los Angeles who find themselves torn by the events of internment during the tragedy of World War II. If this story does not find you brought to tears I do not know what will. During simpler times, Los Angeles in the fall of 1941 where neighbors all know each other and children of all ethnicities played together, the bond of friendship that started in childhood between TJ Kern and Lane Moritomo was not an alliance that would raise suspicion. Now, both young men head for the success in life promised by the hard work their studies in college would bring them. TJ as a pro baseball player, who currently pitcher on the varsity team at USC and Lane Moritomo his best friend, enrolled in college at Stanford; where Lane’s political aspirations hold promise he will be rewarded with an internship with a California Congressman who values his forward thinking ideas. However, the unforeseen factor in TJ’s life as unspoken head of the household (through makings not under his control), is his younger sister Maddie. Maddie, who at nineteen, gifted with the talent that holds promise of becoming a concert violinist in the symphony (if only she can obtain a scholarship to Julliard), centers TJ’s focus to ensure nothing will distract her from achieving this lofty goal. Nevertheless, fate has a way of interceding in all plans as Maddie and Lane have fallen in love and finds them hard pressed to keep their secret from everyone, including TJ. A spontaneous act of defiance against tradition turns into a pivotal life-altering event as the word spreads of the recent attack on Pearl Harbor. The answering actions befalling the country result in the rendering of the hard forged friendship between the two friends who once thought each other as brothers, thrusting Maddie into the position of having to chose between the two men that matter most to her. Will it ever be possible to mend the rift that now looms over them all, and if so at what cost?
A lesson in love and history
(Tuesday, April 24, 2012)
Reviewer: Stacey Pagan
Meet siblings Maddie and TJ Kern – two teenagers struggling to survive since their mother’s passing and their father had a psychotic break. TJ is playing baseball in college and Maddie helps at the alternations shop the family owns, while practicing the violin to get into Julliard. TJ’s best friend, Japanese-American Lane, is away at college. Maddie and Lane have fallen in love, but have kept it a secret from big brother TJ. Lastly, there is Jo, Maddie’s best friend, the keeper of the hardware store, harboring a crush on TJ. . .
It’s November, 1941. . . just a month before the four characters lives are changed forever. McMorris sets up the beginning of the novel nicely, showing the flame that is glowing between Maddie and Lane and the anger TJ faces daily due to the loss of their mother. The reader is shown the best friend relationship between TJ and Lane, never taking into consideration that Lane is a Japanese-American, but just his best pal. They are happy young adults, ready to start their lives in the world. . .
Maddie and Lane secretly marry. Their first night together was heaven; however, that shatters the next day with the bombing of Pearl Habor. . . and everything changes.
Lane’s family leaves, in hopes of avoiding the Japanese Internment Camps in Manzanar, CA. However, during this difficult war time, that doesn’t last long. TJ enlists. Maddie is left at home, still practicing to get into Julliard, spending her time with Jo, hoping to hear from Lane and praying daily for TJ’s safe return.
This story is a story of love, heartbreak, loss forgiving and learning to live again. McMorris has done an excellent job researching the history of Pearl Harbor, WWII and all that history that went along with it! She has written a story that made me laugh along with the characters, yet I also cried for them as well.
Sit back and enjoy your lesson in history while you watch this story unfold.
(Monday, April 16, 2012)
BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES by Kristina McMorris
Really enjoyed all the learning in this book. Starts out with a brother and sister(TJ and Maddie) who each have a friend (jo and Lane). The male friend (Lane) is Japanese and he has fallen in love with Maddie. <P>
Back in the 1940's marriage between two different racial groups was taboo, but they went and got married anyways hiding it for a while from others. The day they returned to their home town from their honeymoon was the day that Japan bombarded Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. <P>
From there the book follows each of the four as they struggle to get through the hard times of their lives and how they strive to get it all back together
once. This book takes you all over the world and I really liked how you could feel you were there with the descriptions of the surroundings and what was going through each of their minds. <P>
TJ is the baseball pitcher and his best friend is Lane til TJ finds out Lanes's married his sister. <P>
Maddie is a violist and has scholarships to pay her way at the Juilliard School of Music in NY but plans change. <P>
Her best friend Jo sticks by her in good and hard times and plays for the womans' baseball league during the war. <P>
Lane is torn between camps, the war, his Japanese heritage and loving his American wife.
War, food rations, birth, death, POW and farming bring this book together ending with an explanation of the stars in the sky that two are looking at from different places in the world. <P>
Love the Japan inspired recipes at the end also. Found myself wanting this book to continue on as I didn't want it to end.
(Monday, March 26, 2012)
Reviewer: Amy Lignor
As she did with Letters From Home, Kristina McMorris has once again written a story of passion, trials, friendship, family and beauty that will stay with the reader for a very long time to come.
Maddie Kern is a good girl. This nineteen-year-old has been through a lot of stress, losing her mother and having her father holed up in an institution because he simply refuses to speak to anyone - wrapped up in a past that he simply can’t escape from. Maddie’s biggest goal in life is to play her violin at the Julliard School, which she has auditioned for already, but this time she has her best chance of getting accepted.
Maddie is taken care of by her older brother, T.J., who is even more strict than her father was. T.J. loves tow things - baseball and his sister - and wants to protect Maddie from the world. But what he doesn’t know is his best friend that he calls Tomo has secretly been dating Maddie for months, and when T.J. finds out about it, he is more than unhappy.
Tomo’s real name is Lane and he comes from a very wealthy Japanese family. His father is huge in the banking industry, and he is also very into the ‘old ways.’ He tells his son that the ‘matchmaker’ back in their native land has found a wife for him and she will be coming over very soon to meet her future husband. Lane has no idea how to tell his family that he has chosen Maddie for life and has no interest in a Japanese bride. Of course, before the families have much to say, Pearl Harbor is attacked, and more than one War begins.
Readers will run through life with Maddie and Lane as they try their very best to survive the bigotry and hatred that has cropped up in America against the Japanese, not to mention Maddie’s brother who has gone overseas to fight the enemy that was once his friend. Each and every page is breathtaking. Watching Maddie and Lane try to fight against all odds, while witnessing T.J. as he struggles to give up his childhood dream and finds himself in a prison that he may just never get out of unless his ‘friend turned enemy’ can save him, makes for a stunning plot.
The story is filled with laughter, tears and sheer beauty. All I can say is Kristina McMorris has once again written the ultimate epic that will appeal to readers of adventure, romance, drama, suspense and history. A true masterpiece!
Until Next Time,