Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

Beautifully written, BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES is not to be missed!

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.

As an avid reader of World War II fiction, I had been searching for stories from the Japanese-American point of view.  I am ashamed to admit that, until a few years ago, I had no idea there had been internment camps in the United States during the war.  I recently read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, but it left me wanting more.  Luckily, author Kristina McMorris came into my world.

Even though I had a few months before I was scheduled to post my review for BRIDGE, I picked up the book with the intent of reading just the first few pages, to give me an idea of the feel of the book.  Two days later, on December 7th actually, I was sad to be turning the last page.  My timing could not have been better, though, since I spent the rest of the day watching documentaries on the History Channel about my favorite literary period in history, as well as the greatest turning point in our nation's history. 

The writing was beautiful, and the settings were exquisitely vivid, but it was the characters that left me breathless.  The characters grabbed me by the heart and wouldn't let go.  They were rich and complex, and I loved them all - even the unlikeable ones!

I have a feeling this book is going to make it onto my Top Ten list for 2012.  I'm already finding myself talking about this book every chance I get.  If you love historical fiction, romance, women's fiction, or literary fiction, grab a copy for yourself and a copy to pass around your book club. 

Book Extras:
About the Book:
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages 
  • Publisher: Kensington (February 28, 2012) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 0758246854 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758246851
  • About the Author:
    Kristina McMorris penned her first novel, LETTERS FROM HOME, based on inspiration from her grandparents' wartime courtship. The recipient of a dozen national literary awards, this critically acclaimed debut was a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, Doubleday/Literary Guild alternate selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction. Kristina has worked as a weekly TV host since age nine, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. For more, visit

    *Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided by the author.


    Zibilee said...

    I hadn't heard much about this book, but it does sound as if it tells an interesting story from a different perspective. I also like that the characters are so deftly created. Very nice review today. I enjoyed reading it and hearing your opinion on the book.

    bermudaonion said...

    I'm so glad that there are finally books from the Japanese-American perspective. This sounds wonderful!

    Kristina McMorris said...

    Wow, what a touching review, Alison! Knowing that the story is still with you makes me unbelievably happy. Thank you so much for spreading word. And please, feel free to talk about the book all you want! :)

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