Thursday, June 13, 2019

Dual-Timeline Family Secrets Novel Sad, But Impactful

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Tori Kovac knows her beloved father is not long for the world.  What she doesn't know is that he's harboring a long-held secret he's not planning to take to the grave.  When he gives Tori a letter addressed to a woman in Japan, her curiosity is piqued.  As an investigative reporter, Tori has made her living sniffing out intriguing stories—she's not about to let this one go.  Heading off to Japan, the 38-year-old is determined to uncover the secrets of her father's past.

What Tori discovers is a love story so haunting and heartbreaking that its echoes continue to reverberate in the present.  When her father, a U.S. sailor on leave in Japan, fell in love with a girl from a strict, traditional Japanese family, he had no idea what he was setting in motion.  Their forbidden relationship led to crushing heartbreak and unimaginable choices with life-altering consequences.  The more Tori digs, the more the story causes her to question everything she's ever known about her father, her family, and herself.  

I'm always down for a dual-timeline family secrets story, so once I read the premise behind The Woman in the White Kimono—a debut novel by Ana Johns—I knew I had to read it.  Inspired by Johns' own family history, the book tells an interesting, atmospheric tale about forbidden love, free choice vs. following tradition, and the consequences of both.  The characters are sympathetic and complex, the setting lush and intriguing, and the plot eye-opening and thought-provoking.  It's a sad novel and I didn't like its ending, realistic though it may have been.  Overall, then, I liked The Woman in the White Kimono, but I didn't end up loving it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Woman in the White Kimono from the generous folks at Parker Row Books via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!

11 comments:

  1. Sounds intriguing! It's outside my usual genre of thriller/suspense but does have that mystery angle...I'll check it out for sure. Thanks for the good review. :)

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  2. I can't decide if I want to read this one, or not. I'm intrigued by the story, but I don't love dual timelines. And then it's sad, too! I'll have to put this one on my maybe list. :)

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  3. I'm glad you liked this. I thought it was culturally interesting and well as a good story.

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  4. It's cool that the book was inspired by the author's own family. That always brings a great perspective to the story.

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  5. That's still a pretty high grade, so this probably deserves a second look. I already think the cover is pretty great...

    You know, that happens to me a lot, too. I really, really like the first half of a book, for instance, and then sort of painfully watch it loose steam from that point all the way to the end. That does make it hard to come up with a rating (and it ultimately led to me dropping my 1-to-5 rating scale).

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  6. I enjoy dual timelines, not *quite* as much as I enjoy dual narratives, but I've been realizing that I enjoy historical fiction more than I thought I did, so...hmmm. This one does sound interesting...

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  7. I enjoy the timelines as well. I've seen and requested this from Netgalley. Its a hit or miss situation. I sometimes get lucky!

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  8. I'm on the fence about this one. I love a dual timeline with family secrets and if there's a deathbed letter or confession more is the better! However, the ending makes me really cautious. Right now I'm in a only happy endings kind of mood so I might have to put this one on hold for a bit.

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  9. I'm sorry you didn't love it, but I'm happy you were able to enjoy it. I think it's interesting that the author chose to base her story on her family.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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  10. These type of stories can definitely be hard and you totally need to be in the right mind frame to read and love them. Glad you did like this one even if you didn't love it. Wonderful honest review!

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  11. I love the cover and the premise of this one. Great review and it still sounds like a good story. Too bad the ending let you down.

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