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In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  29 reviews
When bombardier Micah Lund dies on a mission over Hiroshima, his spirit remains trapped in the land of his enemies. Dazed, he follows Kiyomi Oshiro, a war widow struggling to care for her young daughter, Ai. Food is scarce, work at the factory is brutal, and her in-laws treat her like a servant. Watching Kiyomi and Ai together, Micah reconsiders his intolerance for the peo ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 2nd 2020
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Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kenneth W. Harmon’s historical fiction novel, “In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow” is set in Hiroshima during WWII before and leading up to the deployment of the first atomic bomb. It’s a bittersweet tale of love, loss, and the ultimate sacrifice as unimaginable devastation alters Japan, and the world forever.

The story follows Micah Lund, a bombardier who dies while on a mission over Hiroshima, Kiyomi Oshiro, a war widow, and her young daughter, Ai. In disbelief that he is dead, and in Hiroshima of
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow is a richly woven tale about Micah, an American bombardier after his death falling from a plane over Hiroshima and Kiyomi, a Japanese woman who witnesses his death. This story tells of Hiroshima in the time directly before and after America drops an atomic bomb on the city. Micah battles with his hatred of Japan after what they did to Pearl Harbour and that his brother has died in the war against them with the tenderness he feels for Kiyomi, her daughter Ai and the ...more
Norm Goldman
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookpleasures
Are you a romantic and believe in ghosts and spirits? If you are, you are going to savor award-winning novelist, Kenneth W. Harmon's In The Realm of Ash and Shadow. Incidentally, did you know, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll of 1000 people, about 45% believe that ghosts or spirits of the dead can come back in certain places and situations.

Harmon spins quite a yarn drawing on World War II and the bombing of Japan. An American bombardier, Michah Lund, in 1945, flies over Hiroshima in his B-29
Jean Roberts
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow by Kenneth W. Harmon
Published: 1 August 2020
Publisher: Eiledon Press
Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism
Available: ebook, paperback
Pages: 352

Sex: 💗 None
Violence:😧well there is the atomic bomb, but no much otherwise

Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book can be pre-ordered now on

Author Bio: Kenneth W. Harmon lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife and daughters. T
Patricia Stoltey
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow is a beautifully written tale of WWII and the trauma surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima, but it is so much more than a war story. An American pilot, Micah, dies when his plane crashes near Hiroshima before the main assault. His spirit attaches to the first local resident he encounters, the widow Kiyomi, and connects even more with her young daughter Ai. The lyrical prose, the well-researched cultural information, and the mystical descriptions of Japanese afterlif ...more
Brigitte Dempsey
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Who can resist being moved by a moonlight ride on the back of a talking fish, or a dance with fireflies that so aptly foreshadow the tragedy that is about to unfold in Hiroshima? Kenneth Harmon moves you deeply with his images while walking you through a horrific historical tragedy alongside a brave woman and innocent child. He captures the feelings that give our life meaning while at the same time transcending life. Masterfully done, greatly enjoyed.
Sublime Book Review
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Overall Rating = 4.58

Storyline & Concept = 4.75

Writing & Delivery = 4.5

Editorial = 4.5

Set in Hiroshima, Japan, during World War Two, In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow tells the story of an American bombardier, Micah, who is killed while on a military mission. His spirit remains in Japan and takes an interest in a young Japanese woman and her child, burdening him with guilt as he witnesses the suffering he helped to bring upon the people he used to hate.

This novel is a success on many fronts. The s
Julie Howard
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Micah mans a U.S. bomber flying over Hiroshima in 1945. His plane’s payload is propaganda flyers. His plane is hit by antiaircraft guns and, in short order, Micah is killed (this isn’t a spoiler since it occurs in the first few pages) and becomes a ghost. For the rest of the book, the former American airman roams the land of his sworn enemy and finds himself inexplicably drawn to Kiyomi, a 28-year-old war widow who witnesses his fall from the plane.

Kiyomi is one of millions of Japanese citizens
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Harmon takes readers deep inside WWII Japan through a story that engages with haunting authenticity while also introducing a magical realism that creates an atmosphere unparalleled with anything I’ve ever read before. The writing is eloquent and lyrical and truly keeps you glued to the pages. Harmon fashions a visual landscape through his words that makes the readers a part of the story. I often felt like I was Micah, watching the events unfold before my very eyes, with a desperate angst that th ...more
Brian Kaufman
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a marvel. How do you take the story of Hiroshima and craft from it a delicate story of love, sacrifice and perseverance? Start with beautiful prose, an unusual plot, and characters that you can't help but love. Add in the author's knowledge of Japanese lore, and you have a completely original work of art.
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is very good, and quite moving at times. It's very well crafted and is lyrical in places. I guess it's literary fiction, but crosses into other genres. The story is mostly about relationships, and readers may learn a little about Japanese culture as well. I'll probably be thinking about this one for a while. Recommended. 4.5 stars.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
Emanuele Festi
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've posted my review of In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow on my blog (link here)

I will be really glad if you check it out

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
S.E. Morgan
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was very taken with this novel. It managed to be both horrifying and uplifting. No easy balance. Harmon created an utterly believable world in war-torn Japan and Hiroshima, which was beautiful as well as distressing, His knowledge of Japanese culture and legend to me seemed entirely assured. A very unusual and surprising story, so glad Netgalley gave me the opportunity to read it.
Book Reviewer
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow was a unique historical fiction novel colored with themes of guilt, sorrow and suffering over all that had been lost. Although this was a very emotional novel, it wasn’t all negative emotions, it also had happiness, romance, and a (possible) love like no other, mixed in with some supernatural elements and fantastical hints of history. The story caught my attention in the first couple of pages, remaining consistently entertaining throughout with only rare moments th ...more
Editorial Reviews

“This is an extraordinarily imaginative and compelling exploration of love, death, race, and patriotism with countless unusual twists to keep the reader guessing. Thorough research and stylish execution make for a striking tour de force.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Harmon skillfully mines the brutality of WWII and the desire for redemption in this ambitious story of tragic characters overcoming hate, cultural differences, and duty. Any reader will be moved by this graceful,
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
World War II is in full swing and American bombardier, Micah, has just died on a mission over Hiroshima. His spirit remains trapped in this unfamiliar, foreign city and, confused and and not knowing what else to do, he spots a young woman and decides to follow her home. Kiyomi is a war widow - starving, overworked, and being mistreated by her in-laws all while trying to make sure her daughter, Ai, is cared for. Micah begins to meet other friendly, trapped spirits who help him adjust to his new r ...more
Nina Romano
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the author for an honest review. I do not usually choose fantasy or magic realism, however, to read this marvelous book is to steep yourself in a wonderfully rendered story, part magic realism narrative, that is a fantastical imagining by author Kenneth W. Harmon. The novel follows vivid, emotionally-charged characters transporting the reader to a unique world—one that inspires as it ignites ... I loved all of the references to Japan and its people--the culture, food, s ...more
Grace J Reviewerlady
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure about this novel when I first looked, but I'm so very glad I went on to read it.

Kiyomi's husband died during the war serving his country; she continues to live with his parents, as custom dictates, and cares for her daughter, works hard in a factory and returns home to be treated as little more than a slave by her mother-in-law. When she passes the dead body of a foreign airman, she is unaware that his spirit follows her. This is the story of what happened next . . .

Anyone who foll
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautifully written books I've read. An adult fairytale. I couldn't put this book down. I loved the story so much that I bought the book and have shared with friends. This story is of courage, redemption, love, forgiveness.
Rosie Amber
3.5 stars

In The Realm Of Ash And Sorrow is set in Hiroshima during World War Two.

Micah, an American airman, drops to his death over the city. His fall is witnessed by single mother Kiyomi, and although Micah dies instantly, his spirit remains and attaches itself to this Japanese mother. He meets other spirits who are trapped, and Micah’s is treated with kindness and generosity; these people are not the enemy that he once hated.

Kiyomi’s young daughter, Ai, astral travels during her sleep where sh
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautiful but sad tale of life and death in Hiroshima😢

How fitting that this book should be published just before another anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

I was truly moved by the first two-thirds of this story of life ravaged and wasted by war. Japanese widow Kiyomi and her loving bond and fierce protectiveness for her young daughter Ai were described beautifully. Joyful Ai was, in fact, my favorite character. The author's detailed descriptions of the hunger and misplaced hope
Jul 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Actual rating: 3.5⭐

When I saw this on netgalley, the cover somehow reminded me of Chinese light novels. So while reading the synopsis, I have the notion that it was a fantasy world during a war.

Turns out it's actually historical fiction. The setting was during WWII at Hiroshima. The story mainly revolves around three people. We have Micah, an American soldier who died and his spirit was left wandering the streets of Hiroshima. Then we have Kiyomi and her daughter Ai as they struggle for surviva
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gifted ARC | If you are looking for a beautiful WW2 novel set in Japan, don't miss Harmon's In The Realm of Ash and Sorrow. Man, Harmon can write and transport you into another time and place.

Unlike other WW2 novels that I've read this year--and trust me, I've read a lot--you'll find different perspectives, lessons, and just, overall, a unique story that transcends, well, your body.

You can see my full review along with other August 2020 book releases on The Uncorked Librarian here: https://www.
Lintje Tjahjadi
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just finish reading Kenneth W Harmon's In the realm of ash and sorrow brilliant imagination It began with Micah Lund task as a bombardier over Hiroshime and how the stories moves towards his association with Ai and Kiyomi following their sufferings through the misery of war and survival. The story is very interesting and engaging. A good book to read. Well recommended
Emma Reads
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was a wonderful story that dove into what WW2 was like in Japan. We always hear about what it was like in Germany, in the concentration camps, but what happened in Japan was also absolutely devastating. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story because it was nothing like i’ve ever read before. I highly recommend that you all read this book, it will blow you away.
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I finished this novel, I began looking for other works of Mr. Harmon. The imagination, creativity and imagery were amazing. Mr. Harmon is an unknown talent, but with works like this he will not be unknown for long.

Darrin Mason
Tarang Sinha
Did Not Finish

There's something about Japanese tales. I enjoy reading them. And I liked it when it started. The plot is intriguing but then it got very slow. The incidents, the way the story was moving, I was not enjoying. The dialogues seem unnatural. I couldn't connect with the characters.
Jayesh Mahajan
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Go for it
Ginette Piagentini
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2020
rated it really liked it
May 01, 2020
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