Friday, June 7, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

Book Synopsis
Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Woman in the White Kimono is the story of two women who are far apart in both time and distance ... yet their connection draws them together.  Tori Kovac is taking care of her dying father when she discovers he had a secret life as a young military man.  In 1957 he was involved with a young Japanese girl named Naoko.  Tori is determined to find Naoko and to solve the mystery of her father's past.

I love dual-storyline novels that give a glimpse of the past and present at one time.  The author, Ana Johns, does an especially fine job with the dual storyline here.  The story is told in alternating chapters -- Tori in the present time and Naoko in 1957 Japan.  The characters are well developed and I was immediately drawn into their stories, wanting to know more.

Tori's father is another character in the novel, especially as he is seen so differently by these two women -- his first sweetheart, Naoko, and his daughter Tori.  Tori describes him:

"I adored him.

A man who drank fruit brandy like his Slovak father, swaggered like John Wayne and spun colorful yarns like no one else.

Although, with most of his stories, it was difficult to discern their truth.  'What is truth but a story we tell ourselves?'  Then he'd wink, tap my nose and leave me to dissect fact from fantasy.  Something I was still doing" (p. 18).

Part of what made this book so intriguing is the element of storytelling and myth, by both Tori's father Jimmy (Hajime) and Naoko.  There is also a strong element of history and tradition in Naoko's telling of life in 1957 Japan.

The descriptions of Japan were so beautiful and evocative -- I could picture the places the author described so vividly.

Naoko faced heartbreaking prejudice and barriers as a young Japanese woman in love with an American military man;  these struggles intensify when it is discovered that she is pregnant.  The chapters that detail her time in the maternity home were heart-rending.

I found The Woman in the White Kimono a compelling read about a rarely discussed moment in history, and a fascinating story of two very different women's lives.  I recommend this novel for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who also has an interest in Japan.  It is a beautifully written book.

Author Bio
ANA JOHNS worked over twenty years in the creative arts field, as both a creative director and business owner, before turning her hand to fiction. Born and raised in metro Detroit, she now resides in Indianapolis with her family. The Woman in the White Kimono is her first novel.

Connect with Ana

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

One lucky reader will win a copy of The Woman in the White Kimono.  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form, below.  Giveaway is open to U.S. entrants only.  The giveaway ends midnight, June 13.  The winner will be contacted by email and will need to respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Amber said...

This looks like a really great book and I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the generous giveaway!

ms-texas said...

I've been seeing this book around and it looks intriguing

Michelle L said...

Thank you for the review and giveaway! I've seen quite a few very positive reviews on this book, and have it on my TBR list.

Barbara Lima said...

I've been wanting to read this book!

Betty2222 said...

Looks so interesting!

Nancy P said...

I like historical books.

LeAnn Harbert said...

Sounds like a good book to read over the summer.

Carla LoBosco said...

I really like the cover and it sounds like a good read. Thanks for offering this giveaway

John H. said...

Thanks for the chance!

Jennifer H. said...

I would like to win this!

Leela said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Betty C said...

This is definitely on my TBR list. It looks like an excellent book.

Karley Moore said...

This looks like an interesting read.

Pooch said...

I like the period of 1957 so I am interested enough to read it.

Bre Miles said...

I would love this for one of my summer reads! I love to lounge on a pool floatie and read in the sun :)

AEKZ2 said...

I would love to read this book because I grew up in Japan.

Princess Seronica said...

It sounds very interesting.