BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES
By: Kristina McMorris
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Pub. Date: February 2012
Formats: Paperback and Electronic
Genre: Adult Historical
Age Group: 18+
Source: Rare Bird Lit
Review: I’d first like to thank Rare Bird Lit for having me be a part of the blog tour and sending me the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES by Kristina McMorris is tender, sweet, and filled with heartache. It’s a story not often told in WWII literature. From its riveting beginning to its teary-eyed ending, BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES is a book for historical fiction fans to cherish.
The story is told from three different viewpoints – Maddie Kern, a budding violinist with dreams of attending Julliard; TJ, her older brother, who longs for a baseball career; and Lane Moritomo, his best friend, who aspires to work for the US government in the form a job with a local congressman. The setting is prior to WWII and during the war, itself.
At the beginning, everything is idealistic for all the characters, especially Maddie who has fallen in love with Lane. But she doesn’t know how their relationship will play out or where it will take them because Lane is Asian-American. Maddie loves him more than anything. But she’s also preoccupied with visiting her father who is in a nursing home after their mother is killed in a car accident several years ago. She goes to play for him daily, but he gives no response to her music or who she is. TJ feels it’s a lost cause. Maddie also worries how TJ will react to the news of her dating his best friend. She’s kept it a secret. On the other hand, Lane worries how his strict Japanese parents will react because they want to set him up with an arranged marriage. Against everyone’s wishes, Maddie and Lane elope. But the day after their wedding, all hell breaks loose with the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Lane no longer is seen as friend and neighbor, but an enemy. He’s soon shipped off to an internment camp with his family. TJ decides to join the Army. By taking a giant leap of faith, as well as risks, Maddie abandons her dreams to follow her beloved husband to the camp.
I loved Maddie and Lane’s strength and determination to be with each other, no matter the odds. Their relationship feels real and not forced. I rooted for them the entire way, although, I had to warm up to TJ, especially when he turns his back on his childhood friend and “brother”, Lane. However, I quickly learned to like him because he wants to protect his sister from being hurt by the often cruel and prejudiced world. I also got a kick out of Maddie’s good friend, Jo, who adds a humorous element to the novel. Lane’s family members are also very interesting characters — his mother particularly whose relationship with Maddie is quite strained, but progresses as the novel moves towards its powerful ending.
The setting and historical background is marvelous. Usually, we see WWII fiction set in Europe and often from the eyes of Holocaust victims and survivors. It’s a welcome change to see something different. BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES is emotional and fascinating take on Japanese-Americans who were wrongfully interned during the those troubling times in our nation’s history. BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES weaves together the power of hate, friendship, and love into a sweeping drama which focuses on the importance of race and loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
I’m giving BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES 5 “Relaxing with a Good Book” retro pictures for being unforgettable!
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