Sunday 23 June 2019

The Woman in the White Kimono

Finished June 8
The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

This novel follows two timelines, both with the central character of a woman. One takes place in the late 1950s in Japan. The young woman, Naoko Nakamura, is a schoolgirl from a good family who has secretly begun a relationship with a young American navy sailor. The two truly care about each other, but Naoko is being pressured by her father and older brother to marry a man who is the son of a business associate of her father's, partly as a means of helping the family trading business' future. She has been hesitant to let them know of the identity of her suitor, and they only realize when he comes to the house for a pre-arranged courtship meeting. What Naoko hasn't told even the sailor is that she is pregnant with his child. She doesn't want him to think that she is trying to trap him into marriage. But the consequences of her situation are beyond what she imagined, and she must rely on her wits and resilience to find a way forward.
In the present day, Tori Kovač is an investigative journalist and only child. She has a close relationship with her father James, but as he nears the end of his life, and tries to share with her a secret that he's kept for decades, she doesn't understand until it is too late. Then she begins a journey to find the truth about his past for herself.
This is a story of love that crossed boundaries that were huge at the time, and how two teenagers tried to surmount them. It is a story of cultural differences, and societal expectations, and a modern day view of the situation.
An engaging story with some interesting historical information too.

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