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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!
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes



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