The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende.
Genres: Historical, Contemporary Romance.
Release Date: 3rd November 2015.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK.
From New York Times and internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende, an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War.
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.
Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.
Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the Spirits, The Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.
Book Review ~ ‘The Japanese Lover’ by Isabel Allende ~ 5 Stars!
At its heart ‘The Japanese Lover’ is a story about love. Not just romantic, but all the types of love in the world; the love of a lover; a friend; family; acquaintances; mentors – it portrays them all, and you are left with that feeling of satisfaction as you turn the last page and think over the strength of the bonds the characters you have come to know have for each other.
I absolutely adored ‘The Japanese Lover’. There is something about Isabel Allende’s stunning writing that made it not just a historical romance, but instead a magical journey where I actually saw the places and people being described, and could feel the connection they all shared.
Beautifully crafted, The Japanese Lover takes you across the globe, and across time. I have a special place in my heart for World War fiction, and the way that Allende described the actions of the Americans due to their fear of the Japanese migrants was fascinating. I learnt so much from this book about the war that I never had before, all through her lyrical storytelling, which made it even more real than reading it in a historical textbook.
Alma is a character that you have to work to love. She can be difficult and stubborn, yet Allende developed her character brilliantly, by giving us glimpses into the past to see how she’d grown up, and the people she loved throughout her adult years. Most of all we see the strength of her relationship with four very different people; Nathaniel, Ichimei, Seth and Irina and come to see that love can take many different forms.
The story of Irina and Seth is also beautifully told and is woven brilliantly between the passages of the past, mimicking the detective work they are doing to uncover Alma’s past.
A beautiful story which spans decades.
*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Available for Pre-Order