This powerful novel tells a tale of love and hate: the story of a Japanese girl caught up in the terrifying prejudices that shattered the lives of Japanese Japanese Americans in the U.S. following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The doyenne of bestseller lists weaves another romantic story in her 38th novel, a tale of separated families and shattered lives set against one of the most morally reprehensible events in U.S. history: the internment of Japanese-Americans during WW II. In 1941, 18-year-old Hiroko Takashimaya, the beautiful, painfully shy daughter of a modern-thinking professor and a tradition-bound mother, is sent from her home in Kyoto to live in California with her American cousins and attend a prestigious women's college. Terribly homesick yet determined to make her parents proud, dutiful Hiroko begins to adjust to her new life and even does the unthinkable when she falls in love with Peter Jenkins, a handsome American professor. The joys of Peter's love painfully contrast with the humiliation Hiroko suffers at the hands of her racially prejudiced school mates, but worse is to come when war breaks out and Hiroko and her cousins are sent to segregated camps. Separated from Peter, now a soldier fighting in Europe, Hiroko sheds her sheltered, girlhood innocence and evolves into a strong, independent woman. Steel's slapdash prose and stereotypical characterization produce a formulaic tale, albeit more earnest and didactic than her usual fare, but she does succeed in telling a poignant story. Major ad/promo; simultaneous BDD audio. (Dec.)