I have mixed feelings about this book. It has languished on my TBR shelf for nearly 3 years. My mother and sister-...moreReview originally posted on my blog.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It has languished on my TBR shelf for nearly 3 years. My mother and sister-in-law read it before I did and raved about it. Many others in the blogging world have given this book high praise. So, when I started it, I expected to be blown away.
But I wasn’t.
I wish the book was told entirely from young Sarah’s perspective. To be honest, I didn’t care at all about Julia and her story. There was so much drama with her husband that it really took away from the full impact that this story could have had for me. The Vel’ d’Hiv story is tragic. Tragic is even a light word for it. It’s horrifying. Thousands of Jewish families rounded up by the French police and shipped off to the Auschwitz gas chambers . . . it makes me sick to my stomach.
We meet young Sarah as her family is being rounded up by those French policeman in the middle of the night. In order to save her brother, she locks him in their secret hiding place, a cupboard in their bedroom. She thinks she will be right back to let him out; however, things do not go the way Sarah thinks they will.
Julia Jarmond is a journalist who is covering the 60 year anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup. What she uncovers during her research will change her life forever. Her personal struggles with her husband are ever present throughout the novel and really detract from the powerful story that is Vel’ d’Hiv.
Told in alternating viewpoints, Sarah and Julia’s stories eventually merge into an unexpected conclusion.
This is a good story and tells of a time that is not well known in World War II history, so for that purpose, I would recommend it.(less)
Maddie Kern is a budding violinist with dreams of attending Julliard. Her brother, TJ, has his own dreams of playing baseball. At the ope...moreFrom my blog.
Maddie Kern is a budding violinist with dreams of attending Julliard. Her brother, TJ, has his own dreams of playing baseball. At the opening of the novel, they are both still reeling from the loss of their mother in a car accident and the subsequent catatonic state of their father. TJ is very angry at his father as he feels he is to blame for the accident; however, Maddie continues to visit her dad in the nursing home, playing the violin for him with little to no reaction.
When she secretly marries her brother's best friend, Lane, the son of Japanese immigrants, life is changed forever. The morning after their wedding ceremony, Maddie and Lane wake to the news that Pearl Harbor has been bombed - and everyone of Japanese descent, including Lane and his family are now suspect. Forced to move into an internment camp, Lane, his mother, and his sister leave the American life they have grown accustomed to and begin a new life full of suspicion, fear, anger, and hate directed at them.
Maddie chooses to follow her husband, joining him and his family inside the camp. Maddie struggles to connect with her mother-in-law as Lane tries to cope with being ostracized from the country he was born into. He ends up joining the Army on the American side, willing to do anything to prove his allegiance to his country. TJ also steps up and joins the military, willing to risk his own life to serve and protect his country.
No words I can write could do adequate justice to the work of literary gold within the pages of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. This book captivated me from page one and did not let go until the final word, some 400 pages later. McMorris exquisitely captures the raw emotions - the angst, the pain, and the love - of each character in such a way that truly mesmerized me. The story is told from multiple viewpoints (Maddie, TJ, Lane), but the story never gets confusing or jumbled. The reader can feel each of the emotions that the characters are feeling, the sorrow and the joy, during their journeys. I was transported into another time and place and became so immersed with these characters that I did not want to leave them! I recommend this book without any reservation. McMorris is phenomenal - don't miss her first book, Letters from Home!(less)