Sunday, February 19, 2012

3rd Sunday Sweets: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Some of you might remember about a year ago I wrote a blog review for Letters From Home by my friend Kristina McMorris. Well, this year she has a second novel coming out, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and I had privilege of reading it months ago (one of the perks of being a writer & friends with authors).

Here is a brief bio of author and details of story:
KristinaMcMorris is a graduate of Pepperdine University and the recipient of nearly twenty national literary awards. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents' wartime courtship. This critically praised book was declared a must-read by Woman's Day magazine and achieved additional acclaim as a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction. 

Her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves (March 2012), has already received glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, among many others. Named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal, Kristina lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she refuses to own an umbrella. 

Brief story description:

Los Angeles, 1941. In spite of her Julliard ambitions and family's wishes, violinist Maddie Kern secretly elopes with her Japanese American boyfriend—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed. When her beloved Lane is interned at a relocation camp, she dares to remain at his side. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.  

Skillfully capturing one of the most controversial episodes in recent American history, Kristina McMorris delivers an authentic, moving testament to love, forgiveness, and the enduring music of the human spirit.

So what do I think of this critically acclaimed WW2 novel? First of all I must mention I'm not a fan of this genre. It never appealed to me, that is until I read Letters from Home and discovered a wealth of beauty from a not-so-distance time in history. Second, Kristina has such an exquisite talent for telling a very emotional story, that she could probably write about the robots falling in love and I would still fall in love with the characters and story.

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves left me teary-eyed, in awe, transformed, and hopeful. There is no way you can read this lovely poignant story without being changed. Kristina takes to you a place in history where terrible events took place, even on our own soil, and shows how love can conquer all. 

The biggest shock for me was when I read about the work camps all the US Japanese citizens were forced to live in during the war. I had no idea such a treacherous thing took place here in America. They never really talked about this in high school history. Then there were all the American spouses who chose to live in these dismal conditions just to be with their loved ones. This part of the story blew my mind. 

The relationship between Lane and Maddie will bring tears to your eyes, warm your heart, make you scream, and take your breath away because the power of love has no bounds. I highly recommend this beautiful novel to anyone and promise you won't be the same person after you've read the last page.

You can pre-order (to be released February 28th) your own copy of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves here.

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