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Garden of Stones

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,472 ratings  ·  379 reviews
In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice.Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans and taken to the Manzanar prison camp.

Buffeted by blistering heat an
Paperback, 301 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Joy (joyous reads)
When we visited the Arizona Memorial Park in Oahu a couple of years ago, there are two things that immediately stood out: one, how reverent and sombre the atmosphere was despite the hoarde of tourist in attendance and two, the significant ratio of Japanese nationals that made up of those attendees. The tour also featured a twenty-minute film depicting the events of what had happened that day. And as I looked around the auditorium while the harrowing movie played out, I couldn't help but wonder w ...more
What Lucy had was a tiny seed inside her, a hard thing like a popcorn kernel. But Lucy's Kernel - she didn't know where it was located exactly, in her heart perhaps, or more likely in her spirit, wherever that might be found - would explode large as well. She didn't want much - a place of her own someday, a job of her choosing. But she meant to have it. And when she finally exploded, no one would ever be able to take her future from her again.

Garden of Stones is the story of Miyako and Lucy Ta
Tracee Gleichner
I started reading this book without knowing what it was about – I had downloaded it on my Kindle and without the book cover and synopsis (it was downloaded from Net Galley), I started reading it one night just by chance. And I am so extremely glad that I did!

This is the story of Lucy Takeda, a young girl who was a Japanese American during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The review is going to contain some spoilers – fair warning!

The story starts with a murder accusation – detectives show up at Lucy’
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

When the police come to question Lucy Takeda regarding a murder, she is forced to reveal the past she has kept secret from her daughter for nearly forty years. In 1942, Lucy was an intelligent, pretty fourteen year old mourning the recent death of her father, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and all US residents with Japanese ancestry were forcibly 'relocated' to camps established for the duration of the war. Sent with her mother, the beautiful but mercurial, Miyako, to a camp in Californi
Judith Starkston
When we think of internment camps and WWII, we don’t think of California, Arizona and Utah, but we should. Sophie Littlefield’s upcoming book, Garden of Stones, which moves between WWII and the 1970’s, draws us into this shameful chapter of US history after the bombing of Pearl Harbor—the rounding up, financial ruin, and forcible detention of Japanese Americans in desolate camps. I remember attending an exhibit in the early 70’s of photographs and artwork from the camps—a book of that exhibit is ...more
M.J. Moore
Writing a review for this novel is difficult. Was it enjoyable? Yes. Is it well written (prose/language wise)? Yes. About these things, I'm certain. What I had a bit of a problem with was the style - more specifically, I think the author had difficulty choosing one. The first half of the book is a solid, gritty, real family drama, set mostly against the backdrop of a World War II Japanese American Internment camp. Lucy Takeda is a fourteen year old Japanese American girl who is in the middle of ...more
Perhaps my review of this book is colored by the fact that I had just finished reading another book about the Japanese internment camps, but I did not like this book as much as I expected to. The story starts with a murder when Lucy is an adult, then flashes back to Lucy's life as a child, then flashes forward and back again several times. I found myself much more interested in Lucy's life as a child in the internment camp, and so the murder investigation in the flash-forward times seemed distra ...more
Why I rated a SL 3 stars. This was a well written book, no doubt. But the subject matter made it a very tough read. The bulk of the book takes place during WWII when we see our fellow Japanese Americans taken away from their lives and put them into camps like cattle. Of course you know what happens when you get oppressed people and a completely uncaring government. You get men who think nothing of abusing the people under their care. That is the story we have here and it was very emotional as we ...more

3.5 stars

I liked this historical fiction novel. It centered around one Japanese family's experience as they were swept away from their comfortable, free American life and taken to the Japanese internment camps. This had a mystery twist, which added interest.

For one mother and her child, their assigned internment camp turned out to be a cruel place because of the abuse of power that went unchecked. Their bond for each other was touching, and because of their circumstances, that in turn forged st
Susan Tunis
Patient readers will be rewarded

Sophie Littlefield’s latest novel, Garden of Stones, opens in San Francisco in 1978. The first chapter anticipates the murder of an old man. The second chapter introduces Patty Takeda and her mother Lucy. Patty, visiting her mother in the days leading up to her (Patty’s) wedding, wakes to find Lucy having an early morning chat with a police inspector. Lucy is being questioned because she knew the victim decades prior, and neighborhood residents placed her at the s
Eustacia Tan
I think in history class, the World War Two narratives were pretty straightforward the Nazi's were all bad (although there was Sophie, who spoke out against them and was killed for it) and the Japanese were all bad. We don't really hear about people like Sophie or Sugihara, who did some truly commendable things. Likewise, we don't hear about things like how the Americans used Japanese body parts to make, ugh, objects (I refuse to list). Or about the concentration-camp-like places that loyal Japa ...more
Deborah Ledford
Let me first say that I am a huge Sophie Littlefield fan. I’ve read almost all of her books, from her riotous Stella Hardesty crime novels, the Aftertime series, and her young adult novels. Ms. Littlefield never fails to keep me flipping the pages. Her latest, GARDEN OF STONES, puts this talented writer on yet another genre list--that of literary author. Prowess and perfection dot these pages, filled with insightful perceptions, lyrical phrasing and most of all, captivating characters I won’t so ...more
Barbara Sissel
How far would you go as a mother to keep your child safe from harm? What could you be driven to do, if like Miyako Takeda in Sophie Littlefield’s beautifully rendered and touching novel, Garden of Stones, you knew that, ultimately, you could not be there to protect your young daughter from the horrible assault you know lies in wait for her? The answers to these questions would be difficult enough under ordinary circumstances, during peace time. But for Miyako and her daughter, Lucy, who are impr ...more
Janet Lynch
This book was very well written but heartbreaking and despairingly sad. The book seemed to almost have two halves and I think Lucy changed midstream. I loved her character and then felt she lost her fight and personality. The book had several surprising twists at the very end (don't read ahead BB!) All in all I really liked this book but wish Lucy had done things differently. BB and Rachel, read this book so I can talk to someone about it!
I expected more from this book. The story line sounded promising. It features that popular style of double narration, jumping back and forth from December 1941 to 1978. However, where I anticipated depth of meaning, instead I got over-emotionalized situations. I was looking for character development in a story of redemption, instead I got a story of survival where no one really learns or grows, they simply live through it. The running theme through the book is that the mother is living a cursed ...more
Like almost every American student of my generation, I had to read "Farewell to Manzanar" for school; in my case, 7th grade. I was twelve, and to be honest I remember nothing about the book other than how depressing it was. Manzanar was a travesty, a horrific aspect of American history that they teach us about in order to make sure we don't repeat our mistakes. When we went to war against "terrorism," Americans may have felt like putting people of Middle Eastern heritage in concentration camps, ...more
Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield is a relatively short (320 pages), fictional book about a family, mother and daughter, sent to Manzanar, an internment camp for Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The book starts in 1978 when one of the former camp officials has been found murdered in San Francisco, and tells the story of Miyako and her daughter Lucy through a series of flashbacks to 1942-1943. In one sense, this is actuall ...more
When I first picked up Garden of Stones, I thought the author's name sounded familiar, and it was only when I was more than halfway through that I realised she is the author of the zombie / post-apocalyptic Aftertime series. I haven't read Aftertime, but I was impressed at how versatile an author Ms. Littlefield is - after all, zombies and historical fiction are two of my favourite genres but are as pretty much far apart as genre's can be.

Garden of Stones is not an overly sympathetic book. There
There are stories that we Americans are fond of shouting to the sky. Tales of daring, boldness and the great courage in "making do" in order to stand on your own two feet. We tell stories of wars, of exploration and the exploits of semi-mythical figures that loom large off the page. We like the stories, they define us, they define the American Dream of making a life a success on one's one terms. But there are also stories we don't tell. Ugly stories, which we (often successfully) try to forget. ...more
I thought this book was going to be straight forward going into it, however as I kept reading it got to be very uncomfortable to read. I hated what was happening to Lucy and that Miyako kept getting backed into a corner. I hated that when Lucy would find one good thing it got taken away.

With what was happening in the present I have a feeling I knew what Miyako was going to do to Lucy. Was it a horrible thing to do, absolutely, but was it the better of two evils, again absolutely. It seems to be
Lucy lives with her mother, Miyako and father. Lucy puts on her best school clothes. She knows today is the day that she will be chosen to be either a hall or lunch monitor. Only this does not happen. One of Lucy’s friends tell her it is because she is Japanese. Lucy does not realize just how different this really makes her until her father dies and the President orders all of the Japanese to be sent to concentration camps.

Sophie Littlefield has done it again. She won me over with her story of
The book travels back and forth between 1978 San Francisco and 1941-43 when Pearl Harbor was attacked and Lucy and her mother were sent to Manzanar. It opens in 1978 when a former employee of Manzanar was murdered and Lucy becomes a suspect. The book is less a mystery than I thought it would be but it's other aspects kept my attention; even though it dragged a little toward the middle. How Lucy and her mother coped with their situation was a harrowing journey. I felt what they were feeling as if ...more

Opening with a modern-day murder mystery, Garden of Stones is a rich, touching and poignant historical tale describing the fate of a Japanese-American girl caught up in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour and sent to the infamous Japanese internment camp near Manzanar, California, which will change her life and future forever.

Lucy Takeda is a pretty fourteen-year-old girl living in Los Angeles and mourning her recently deceased father when the bombing of Pearl Harbour takes place on December 7, 19
Lucy is a Japanese teen in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles when Pearl Harbor is bombed and she’s moved to an internment camp. I’m fascinated by this time period as I feel American history really glosses over it. We quarantined tens of thousands of people based on race alone, with some shoddy “they might be spies/infidels/etc.” rhetoric. Meanwhile many of these folks had never been to Japan, didn’t speak Japanese, and saw themselves as nothing but American. Because they were.

The confusion y
This is a surprisingly strong novel that examines one of the darker moments in American history - the Japanese internment camps. The book spans just over thirty years, but the bulk of the story is from young Lucy Takado’s point of view as she is forced from her comfortable home to the stark horror of the Manzanar camp. The more contemporary sections are from Patty Takado’s perspective as she learns more about Lucy’s past after a murder happens just blocks away from her childhood home. It’s an en ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Katherine rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ann
Recommended to Katherine by: Susan Tunis
3.5 stars.

I'm somewhat familiar with the Japanese Internment in California History, thanks to a nonfiction book called" Stubborn Twig." What I appreciated about this novel, was that it brought a more engaging way to connecting to this context. Maybe it was the writing style, but it was definitely a page-turner. And maybe because we didn't know too much of the intimate tragic details of what really happened during this period, it was possible to focus more on the role of women and the survival s
Sam Still Reading
Jan 02, 2013 Sam Still Reading rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people looking to know more about forgotten parts of WWII
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: ARC from publisher - thank you!
Garden of Stones is a different book to what I was expecting from the cover – and I mean that in a good way. I thought the book would be about a mother with a young daughter struggling in an internment camp. While the book does highlight the struggles of Lucy (a teenager, older than the girl on the cover) and her mother, this story is a gripping, heart wrenching one of love and sacrifice. There are scenes that will cause you to gasp in horror, shake your head in disgust at brutal cruelty and wee ...more
Nicki Markus
This book gripped me right from page one. I had actually never heard about the rounding up of Japanese-Americans before, so it was interesting to learn more about the history of it all. Certainly, it paints the USA in a bad light.

The characters in this story are fascinating, well-written and believable. You really feel for both Miyako and Lucy as they deal with the blows life has dealt them. The book is a very character-driven piece and the reader can absolutely relate to them from start to fini
Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield vacillates between 1978 and 1941. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which is when the United States began interning Japanese-Americans, Lucy Takeda and her mother, Miyako, are told to store their belongings, but end up selling them for pennies before they are shipped to the desert and the internment camp, Manzanar. Lucy has felt the sting of bias in her Los Angeles high school, like when she was passed over for lunch monitor in favor of another girl and wh ...more
Not your usual Harlequin book, I'll say that much. While Littlefield does make an admirable effort at moral engagement and crafts what to some would be a stirring tale of loss and redemption, I wasn't able to get past the following. First: the bland and heavy-handed prose style. Second: the clumsy plotting and obvious filler material. Third: several character traits (Miyako's bipolar disorder, for one) that if better exploited could have significantly enriched the narrative, but instead were lef ...more
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Sophie's first novel, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2009) has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Barry, and Crimespree awards, and won the Anthony Award and the RTBookReviews Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Mystery. Her novel AFTERTIME was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Horror award.

Sophie is also the author of:
A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY (Minotaur, 2010)
More about Sophie Littlefield...

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“the city’s gilded glow seeping into their room, casting its frenetic energy across the worn carpet like rice spilled from a jar.” 1 likes
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