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Sophie and the Rising Sun

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  558 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Salty Creek is a sleepy Georgia town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Strangers rarely enter their midst. When the mysterious Mr. Oto arrives in the spring of 1939, he immediately becomes the talk of the town.

A quiet, unassuming Japanese man with a secret history of his own, Mr. Oto meets Sophie soon after arriving in Salty Creek and immediately falls in lo
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 24th 2002 by Plume (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,217)
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Feb 20, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, homefront, 5-star
I had no idea what to expect from this Netgalley book. I knew the synopsis - basically that a middle-aged spinster forms a friendship, perhaps more, with the Japanese gardener working for a friend right at the onset of America's involvement in WWII; that could go any number of ways.

The way Sophie and the Rising Sun went was utterly beautiful. Mr. Oto - and that is all I'm going to call him, as his given name deserves the reveal it gets - is a lovely, lovely character, a man who has done a bit o
Pamela Pickering
Feb 12, 2008 Pamela Pickering rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women of all ages
Shelves: favorites
If you're looking for a gentle, heartwarming love story this is the story for you. Don't expect any hot sex scenes. lust, or strife, just the tender approach of love for an unlikely couple. The story is well written and can be read quickly--a good choice for a rainy day. It's too bad they don't write stories like this anymore. Quite a gem!
Lovely sweet story of two 50somethings finding love at the start of the second world war. The hero was an extremely mild mannered man of Japanese descent and the heroine was a spinster who had spent her whole life looking after her mother and aunts. Most of the story was told through the eyes of the hero. I really enjoyed how he felt so much for the heroine without even really knowing her. And after they met, he really treated her like a princess. I loved the description of the painting that he ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Nicole rated it really liked it
There is nothing better than just stumbling upon a book while perusing at the library, knowing nothing about it, and discovering that you have found a gem. That’s how it was with this one—Sophie and the Rising Sun, which I only picked up because my daughter’s name was in the title. It turned out to be such a lovely story. It’s a quick read—only about 200 pages—perfect for a rainy day.
Tara Chevrestt
I am really torn about this book. One one hand, I see a beautiful love story... Oto loves Sophie right away, and his is a beautiful love. There nothing even remotely ugly about Oto. His love isn't one of those, "Oh my manhood stirred at the sight of her and I imagined myself.." kind of loves. His love is pure, his character innocent and naive. Sophie, too, has a clean love for Otto.

On the other hand, where the heck is this love coming from? Oto sees her and from then on, it's all about this wei
Cris Anne Perez
Sep 17, 2014 Cris Anne Perez rated it it was amazing
Oh, how lovely! This book will leave a smile on your face after finishing. I love all the dialogues: both the spoken and unspoken ones. It is simple and refreshing, a sweet love story without trying too hard. It is a novel with uncomplicated decisions from the main characters and it allows the readers to indulge on a basic blissful life. Oh, how lovely!
Jennifer Precise
Dec 31, 2012 Jennifer Precise rated it really liked it
A quiet and introspective book. I picked this up expecting Southern gothic and instead received a delicate treatment of overcoming social barriers when a Japanese gardner falls in love with a hometown Georgia girl during the outbreak of World War II.
Anandah Böhl
Mar 26, 2015 Anandah Böhl rated it it was amazing
Sophie and the Rising Sun is a book I think I will treasure for a long time. It is written beautifully, and poetically. I cherished it very much. The characters are fleshed out and feel alive. The characters thoughts, feelings, traits, and actions, whether positive or not so much,feel very real and believable especially for the time this story takes place (beginning of WWII). This book touches a lot on the foulness of racism, and bigotry, but also how love truly is colorblind. In some ways it re ...more
Rosemary Cantrell
Jan 25, 2016 Rosemary Cantrell rated it really liked it
This was a really good book about personal relationships. Sophie was raised by a mother and two maiden aunts to be prim and proper, but in the process she lost her own identity. She lives for her lost love from WWI. Then comes WWII, a Japanese gardener, and a new kind of love.

This was a great book about finding love and Sophie finding her true self. I could hardly put it down until I had finished it. The ending is just ambiguous enough to leave room for the reader to decide exactly what happene
Sharon Huether
Dec 02, 2015 Sharon Huether rated it it was amazing
It was when WWII was starting. Sophie hired Mr Otto as gardener and handy man, in her home in Georgia. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor; they were in fear. Mr Otto was Japanese and not Chinese as sbe once thought. Mr Otto fell in love with Sophie, her kindness and her gently ways, reminded him of the Jananese story of the Crane wife. Sophie hid Mr Otto in a small fishing cabin by the ocean. People were snooping and gossiping. Sophie and Mr Otto just disappeared. Sophie vowed life was not going ...more
Jenna Anderson
Dec 26, 2011 Jenna Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Wonderful - The Help Meets Nicholas Sparks

This story is a wonderful, lovely tale. I instantly liked Sophie, Miss Anne, Mr. Oto and was drawn into their world. Miss Ruth is portrayed in a perfectly nasty way. Well done. Queen Sally was fun and I only wish she had a bigger part in the book.

If you are a fan of Nicholas Sparks and his soft, sometimes gushy, love stories, I suggest you try Sophie and the Rising Sun. While Mr. Sparks can leave us with a face full of tears, I was left with a smile aft
Aug 08, 2010 bookczuk rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2008 bookyeti rated it liked it
Shelves: own, reviewed
delicate as a paper crane

Simply, yet beautifully, written and poignant, Sophie and the Rising Sun — a narrative, in the plaintive voice of various characters — takes place in a sleepy southern town in Georgia.

Sophie, a refined southern lady and middle-aged spinster, finds she has depleted her “young and beautiful years” caring for her elderly mother and aunts, after her beau, Henry, never returned from WWI. Finds herself quite resigned to the idea of never finding love at her age, Sophie, finds
I am not sure what I was expecting when I started this book but what I got was a beautiful chaste love story between southern belle Sophie and Japanese American Mr. Oto. This was a beautifully written look at the south during the time of Pearl Harbor and everything changed for Mr. Oto and the women in his life his boss Miss Ann and his friend (and woman he loves) Miss Sophie. But this was so much more than a love story; it’s a friendship story and also a historical look at a very tough time espe ...more
I was excited to see an Asian male/white female (amwf, as it’s known online) story pop up on Netgalley. They can be hard to find, and I thought the dual extra setting of the racist rural south and WWII would make it more interesting. I still don’t doubt that these positive things are what the author was going for, but it didn’t quite come through for me in the story.

Trobaugh picked an interesting writing structure that I found worked well for the story. It’s a mix of an elderly Miss Anne relatin
Nov 01, 2011 Sheila rated it it was amazing
In the years preceding America's entry into World War II, a quiet Georgia town called Salty Creek is home to a peculiar and risky romance.
For quite some time, only polite and brief exchanges were ever had between a spinster named Sophie and Miss Anne's courteous and enigmatic “Chinese” gardener, Mr. Oto. Miss Anne, a moral woman whose memories of the event are at the center of this tale, provides Oto with refuge after he arrives, disgraced, starving, and essentially dropped from a Greyhound bus
May 10, 2012 Nada rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-lt
Review first published on my blog:

Sophie and the Rising Sun is a story of World War II - specifically of World War II right as the attack on Pearl Harbor happens. It is a story of that time but set in a small Georgia town. As such, it is period piece about the American South.

Sophie is the town spinster with an overpowering mother and a lost love in her background. Ms. Anne is the one in town not afraid to do things a little differently. Ms. Ruth is the to
Sep 11, 2008 Kellie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2006-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melanie Coombes
Apr 17, 2012 Melanie Coombes rated it liked it
This is a very short, sweet love story. It starts out slowly and is mainly told by Miss Anne.
Miss Anne is an older woman who lives in the small Georgia town on the eve of WWII. She is telling us about Mr. Oto, a Japanese-American, who used to be her gardener. Mr. Oto quietly works and keeps to himself, until the day he meets the local spinster, Sophie. (I never quite figured out Sophie's age, but she is older and never married.) Over the course of time, Sophie and Mr. Oto meet once a week to pai
"Sophie and the Rising Sun" by Augusta Trobaugh is a bit like a haiku in novel form: brief, beautiful, full of symbolism and complex for its simplicity. It is romantic in the very best way, pitting the idealism of love against the cold realities of circumstance.

Told in various viewpoints, the story places a not-quite-hopeless spinster and a middle-aged Japanese-American gardener in a small Southern town on the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The author chose her setting in which dangerous pre
Priscilla Melchior
Dec 19, 2012 Priscilla Melchior rated it it was ok
From the book cover: "In sleepy Salt Creek, Georgia, strangers are rare. When a quiet unassuming stranger arrives a Japanese man with a secret history of his own he becomes the talk of the town and a new beginning for a lonely Sophie, who lost her first love during World War I."

It looks like "Sophie and the Rising Sun," originally published more than 10 years ago, has been re-issued by its publisher in anticipation of a new novel from Trobaugh. I'll be interested to see what I think of this ne
Apr 09, 2012 Grace rated it really liked it
Author: Augusta Trobaugh
Title: Sophie and the Rising Sun
Description : This is a short novel, close to a novella, set in Georgia in 1941. When Miss Anne’s oriental gardener and Miss Sophie begin to become friends, not only do they face their racial differences, but their age—and the beginning of WWII.
Review source: Library Thing Early Reviewers
Plot: Nothing mind-blowing. Two people who think they have missed love somehow find it, in the worst of all possible circumstances. Complicated by the chur
Diane S ☔
Feb 25, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3.5 Mr Otto is a middle aged man of Japanese ethnicity,although he was born in California and considers himself an American. Sophie is a middle aged spinster, having taken care of her mother and than her elderly aunts, and losing her first love in World War I. Taking place in a small town in Georgia, this is not a passionate love affair but a rather elegant one as is the writing in this novel. When Pearl Harbor is bombed all the small town stereotypes as well as the usual prejudices come into pl ...more
Shari Larsen
Dec 30, 2011 Shari Larsen rated it it was amazing
A very moving story about an extraordinary love and a town's prejudice during World War II. Set in the sleepy town of Salty Creek, Georgia, where strangers are rare, an unassuming stranger arrives; a quiet, Japanese man in his 50's, with secrets of his own. He becomes a new beginning for lonely Sophie, who lost her first love during World War I. She has resigned herself to a life of living alone, but that changes when she meets Mr. Oto. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Mr. Oto's newfound lif ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful story. I guess it would be unrealistic to ask that we be given a clear happy ending (though a mere few lines confirming that all ended happily ever after would have bumped it up to five stars in my book). At least the reader is given the option of deciding for his/her self what became of Sophie and Mr. Oto--and that worked for me. Augusta Trobaugh writes fantastic characters--they have such personality and realism about them.
Dixiane Hallaj
Sep 15, 2011 Dixiane Hallaj rated it really liked it
Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh is an exquisitely told tale set in a small Georgia town, complete with the standard righteous town busybody and all the prejudices of small towns in the Deep South in the early 1940s. Mr. Oto, a “foreign” man, arrives half-starved and becomes Miss Anne’s “Chinese” gardener. Mr. Oto and Sophie, a “real lady” who never had a chance at love, slowly develop a relationship as delicate and beautiful as the bird’s wing in the Japanese folk tale that is skil ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: library-thing
This book was a nice, easy read. The book is narrated by Miss Anne who takes in a Japanese man as her gardner just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Oto meets and quietly and mutually falls in love with Sophie. After Pearl Harbor is attacked, the residents of the town turn their hatred toward Mr. Oto and make life challenging for him and those close to him. The book highlights the issues with a small town and the hatred toward Japanese Americans, even those who were born in the U.S. and d ...more
Dec 31, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing
What a treat to wrap up 2012 with a five-star book! This tender book was utterly delightful. It's the gentle love story between an old Southern spinster and a Japanese gardener around the start of WWII.

There were so many wonderful things going on simultaneously in this book--the side stories were as touching as the main one. The character of Miss Anne was my favorite--we all need a Miss Anne in our lives!

I feel torn about the author's use of point-of-view--she moved back and forth between firs
Apr 10, 2008 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I could taste the stale humid Georgia air as I read this book. I could even see the town they were in, even though I have never been there. The author had some great descriptions. I loved the descriptions of the grand sky and the vast stars above the ocean. I could smell the salty air. Love it!

This was a quick and GREAT read. I think it worthy of a bookclub read. Mr. Oto's character really drew me in. Even though much of the politics of that time weren't discussed in detail, his treatment spoke
Dec 03, 2008 Dlora rated it liked it
Set in the deep South with all its prejudices and charm in 1939, this is a story about a love that develops gently and sweetly between Mr. Oto, a middle-aged Japanese gardener, and Sophie, a spinster daughter just released from her diligent care of her domineering mother and two aging aunts when they pass away. Sophie and Mr. Oto's slowly evolving love story is complicated by the attack on Pearl Harbor and the implications for Mr. Oto as a foreigner. "I'm an American," he asserts but his facial ...more
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