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Shhh… Listen To The Gods.

The Japanese believe the gods live in all things. Trees, appliances, animals, buildings — they all have a spirit living within them. Maybe, if you listen carefully, you can hear them too.

Keeping secrets is this cherry tree's job. But when Mieko's mother dies of a stroke, Mieko must face harsh truths.

How will the tree divulge her mom's past without breaking its vows?


Published October 7, 2016

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About the author

S.J. Pajonas

54 books160 followers
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Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, Capricorn, Japanophile, and USA Today Best Selling author. She loves summer, downtempo beats, yoga pants, foxes, owls, dogs, sushi, pasta, and black tea. She lives outside NYC with her husband, two great kids, and her dog who always wants to play. When it comes to her work, she writes about everyday women and uncommon worlds. Find her online at https://www.spajonas.com

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,090 reviews165 followers
January 13, 2017
The Kami No Sekai short stories series by Pajonas are always delightful to read. The inanimate objects, in this case - a beautiful cherry tree, come to life and interact with someone whose life then changes.

Secret Keeping Sakura was a little sadder than the other stories in this series. Mieko returns home when her mother gets sick and with the help of the cherry tree she grew up with, discovers many secrets of her mother's life.

These stories are always interesting, have a life lesson to tell and are quick to read. I always finish with a smile and Secret Keeping Sakura was no exception. Another enjoyable read for me!

I received a copy from the author.
Profile Image for Lola.
1,566 reviews246 followers
October 19, 2016
I received a free copy of this book and voluntary reviewed it

Secret Keeping Sakura is the fifth and last book in Pajonas her Kami no Sekai series. This was another great read. It's short enough that I could read it in one sitting and I think there's something satisfying about being able to read a book in one sitting. Secret Keeping Sakura is about Mieko, her mother just died and Mieko is back in her hometown for the burial. It's a bit of a sad read with the topic of her mother her dead and it deals with some other sad topics, but overall I still found it to be a hopeful and uplifting read as well.

It's about keeping secrets, how well you really know people, the different lives you life and making choices. I enjoyed how Mieko learned more about her mom now that she was dead and along the way I feel like she got to understand her mom better. The Sakura tree gives her some hints of where to go and there she discovers part of her moms life and the secrets she kept. I thought it was very well written and Mieko her mom seemed like such a nice character, I really admired her and she seemed like a great person. In a sense it reminds me of some cozy mysteries where you only get to know the victim when they're dead. That was the main plot of this story basically, how Mieko gets to know her mom better now that she's dead. And at the same time these would be things she wouldn't have discovered otherwise.

It was a quick read, but like the other stories in this series it managed to tell the story it's meant to tell without feeling rushed. The ending is a bit of an open one, which means the reader can fill in the ending. I am not a fan of open endings usually, but this one worked and I do think it ended at the right moment. And it left me to imagine what would happen to Mieko next and I like the image of the future I have in mind for her.

Secre Keeping Sakura is told from alternating points of views from both the sakura tree and Mieko. And while they are the narrators, I felt it was the story of Mieko her mom as well. We get a good feel for the two narrators and Mieko her mom. The tree seemed to care about Mieko and it was interesting to get a feel for how the tree experienced life and what he/she has seen. Mieko took the obvious path that many young people take in this small town and moved away from her hometown to work at a law firm and only now she's wondering if she's happy and what she wants from life. Now with her mother's death she starts thinking about her own life a bit as well.

To summarize: Secret keeping Sakura was an enjoyable read. It's not as plain fun as the other ones, but it was a great story. It's about Mieko who's mom had died and now Mieko finds finds out more about her mom and her secrets. It was interesting how throughout the story we got a bit of a feel for Mieko her mom and she seemed like a great person. The book manages to deal with sad topics, but also feels uplifting and hopefully at the same time. The ending is pretty open, but it works and leaves the reader to imagine what happens to Mieko next. I really enjoyed this one. This series is great when you're in the mood for a quick and enjoyable read!
Profile Image for Joy.
441 reviews36 followers
January 17, 2021
A bittersweet story about Meiko, who leaves her boring job in Osaka to attend to her mother's affairs after she dies suddenly. She discovers the not-so-dark secrets of her mother's life, with the help of the cherry tree in the front yard.

This really resonated with me. Like Meiko, I've lost both of my parents, and discovered things about my parents I never knew, and now I have questions I may never have the answers to. What makes it beautiful is the sweet cherry tree, who faithfully keeps the secrets of both Meiko and her mother. The tree can't divulge secrets, but can guide Meiko in the direction she needs to rediscover the mother she loved but who was also a bit distant. This leads Meiko to make a decision about her life...

Anybody who is interested in Japan and it's culture, or who just wants a story that will make them feel and think will enjoy this.
Profile Image for Diane Burton.
Author 17 books247 followers
October 25, 2016
This is a fun read--as are all the Kami No Sekai short stories where inanimate objects talk to a character. I enjoyed the interaction between Mieko and Sakura (the cherry tree in her yard). Ms. Pajonas reveals Mieko's anguish after her mother suddenly dies. And her frustration as she discovers how little she knew of her mother's life within the small farming community. Sakura points her in the right direction without revealing her mother's secrets. Mieko, whose job in the big city, is at a crossroads. I love the decision she makes. Well done, Ms. Pajonas.
116 reviews
September 3, 2017
This short follows a young women as she goes through a very sweet and unexpected journey. It's an easy read and a poignant story.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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