Friday, February 17, 2012
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves By Kristina McMorris
After suffering the loss of her mother, Maddie Kern is about to audition for Julliard. Her future is full of music and promise. She lives in California with her older and very protective brother TJ who is now watching over her, while their dad is unable to face the reality of his wife's death. Maddie is secretly in love with Lane Moritomo, TJ’s best friend and is planning on keeping it all hush hush until the right time.
What could be wrong with that? They are young, in love and have their whole lives ahead of them. When Lane’s parents unexpectedly tell him a Japanese matchmaker has found him a match and he will marry in the next few months. With news of an impending marriage the couple runs off and elope. When they wake up the next morning, not only has their world chanced but the world around them has changed with the news Perl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. Lane, his family and other Japanese immigrants all over the country are suddenly looked at as the enemy.
TJ angry at his best friend and mad at his sister joins the war effort and enlists. Lane’s family loses everything and heads off to a relocation camp, after realizing they can't survive. Lane determined to do right by Maddie leaves her behind. But now Maddie is viewed as a traitor by those around her and she no longer seems to fit anywhere.
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves follows Maddie, TJ and Lane through WWII. Maddie goes off with Lane’s family where his mother is less than enthusiastic to have her around. TJ and Lane both become soldiers. I would say this is the most moving novel I have ever had the pleasure to read. I immediately loved Lane, he was so sweet and thoughtful. The whole world was placed on his shoulders. He went through the entire novel always with purpose and thoughtfulness of those around him, a true hero. Maddie and the rest of the characters grew with each passing page, until I loved each and every one of them and their stories. Bridges of Scarlet Leaves had me reaching for my box of Kleenex more than once. A war/love story like none I’ve read before. It’s filled with tradition, honor, triumph and tragedies. I strongly strongly recommend Bridges of Scarlet Leaves.
On a personal note, I think there is something about WWII love stories. I always like to picture my grandparents and what their lives would have been like while reading them. This story hit close to home for me, as my grandfather was at Perl Harbor that fateful day. He was one of the lucky ones. For years I had wished he would talk about his days in service, make history more real for me. Through McMorris’ writings I can understand why he said nothing of the things he saw.
Reviewed by Laura Kay