Brandy's Reviews > Sophie and the Rising Sun

Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh
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's review
Jun 25, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: general-market-fiction, romance, 20th-century, southern-fiction
Read in January, 2012

"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 The author chose her setting in which dangerous prejudice was a historical fact rather than an outdated Southern stereotype. (It's a pet peeve of mine that, in modern works, Southern characters are often subject to being painted with a broad brush of colloquialisms and ignorance. I appreciated that this author respected her characters, even her main villain, more than that. There are archetypes, but no ridiculous caricatures.)

There is a curious lack of male characters of any real importance (other than the male protagonist), which I realized after I finished reading the book. I wouldn't say this detracts, though. References to Christianity are present more for characterizations (certain hypocritical characters) than for thematic reasons.

My one critical note with the story is (view spoiler) I can respect this artistic decision, but it's not my preference.

Recommended for lovers of small Southern coastal towns, fans of Japanese culture, and readers who appreciate a gentle romance.

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