Book Review: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

If you have read my reviews before you know that I am a huge history buff and I am especially interested in novels set in World War II, mostly because I have an interesting family story of my own that relates to the war in Europe and that draws me to read fictional accounts about how individuals, families and societies were impacted and lived through the war.  This time, I got to review a novel that takes a look at the war from a completely different perspective - how the war between the US and Japan impacted Americans of Japanese origins, their friends, families and society.  Kristina McMorris' second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves took me on a journey that gave me new insights, caused new feelings and broadened my view of the impact of World War II... here's what the book jacket tells us:

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.

My Review:

Like Letters From Home, McMorris' first novel, that I reviewed here, I felt like I was right there with the characters, becoming a part of their world from the highs of their early relationship and elopement to the immediate and farther reaching implications of Pearl Harbor and finally the ravages of war, the relationship between Maddie, Lane and their world is an incredibly moving story that made me keep reading long into the night.

You really feel like you've been transported back to 1941 when so many people's worlds changed forever and as a gifted storyteller, Ms. McMorris weaves a tale that you can both imagine and understand to be true and needing to be told.  If you like to read historical novels or even just really good character novels, then adding Bridge of Scarlet Leaves to your TBR pile is something you just must do!  Bridge of Scarlet Leaves will be available for sale on February 28th, 2012!

About the Author:
Kristina McMorris is a graduate of Pepperdine University and the recipient of nearly twenty national literary awards. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents' wartime courtship. This critically praised book was declared a must-read by Woman's Day magazine and achieved additional acclaim as a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction. Her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves (March 2012), has already received glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, among many others.
Named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal, Kristina lives with her husband and two
sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she refuses to own an umbrella.

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