On Father’s Day I found myself in Target looking for a card for my husband from our dogs. (I know, we are silly!) Unlike most people who can probably go into Target for what they need and leave, I actually have to look around the whole store before I am content enough to just leave. I was browsing the book section and was looking at their section on up and coming authors. I tend to get myself into a rut where I only read girly chick-lit, so I thought I’d try something different.
I saw Sophie Littlefield’s book “Garden of Stones” and thought I’d pick it up. All though, in effort of full disclosure, I did save myself some money and buy it on my kindle. The following is the official synopsis on Amazon:
In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice
Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up—along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans—and taken to the Manzanar prison camp.
Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever…and spur her to sins of her own.
Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield weaves a powerful tale of stolen innocence and survival that echoes through generations, reverberating between mothers and daughters. It is a moving chronicle of injustice, triumph and the unspeakable acts we commit in the name of love.
I picked up this book because when I read the synopsis I was reminded just exactly how recently in US History the internment of Japanese Americans was. It is said that if we don’t learn history we are bound to repeat it, and though I was younger when it occurred I know that post 9/11 there was a fear in the world that the US would make this mistake again With that being said, this book wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea. I normally venture to the books with cover’s of pastel where the main plot point is about a quirky girl just hoping to find Mr. Right.
This book is actually two stories in one. The first story takes place in the “present”, which in this book is the late 1970s and the second story takes place is the “past” immediately following Pearl Harbor. The story is that of Lucy Takeda, who is 14 at the time that Pearl Harbor occurs. The part of the story in the past is about her experience prior to, and during, her internment. The present day aspect of the story is more of a murder mystery, in which Lucy Takeda is a main suspect. I know that those stories don’t sound like they should go together, but Sophie Littlefield actually does an incredible job at blending these stories together.
The pacing in this book is spot on. I know with some books it feels like the author is deliberately slowing the pace of the story to create a longer book, or for no reason at all. That is not the case with this book.
I cannot attest to how truthful the representation of life in the internment camps is, but what the author does provide is an image that makes it plainly obvious what turmoil all those interned went through.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I was hoping for a little more “history” than was included but it wouldn’t have really added anything to the story to put it in. This book really does surprise you until the last page.
Will you be picking this book up any time soon? What are some of your favorite book genres?