Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: November 3, 2015
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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.
This book was just so absolutely beautiful, I was enamored with the story and how everything played out for the characters. It's a story about how the past can affect someone's future, and this is truly a story of a love that will never die. Isabel Allende writes a story that will touch readers and really make them believe in a love story.
There is a back and forth as readers get to know Alma as she is now and how she got to this point in her life. This is a beautiful love story, in a tough time and Ichimei and Alma lose time together because of the war. Not only is this a love story and the life of Alma, but also learning about Irina's past and a new love life for her. Irina learns a lot about herself through helping Alma and learning that no one's past is perfect.
Isabel Allende has a beautiful way of having readers connect with her characters, I loved reading about Alma and Ichimei as they continue to reunite over the years and they never forget one another. This story is about that one love that is lost and yet never forgotten, Alma wants to always remember her first love even though they lost each other over the years. I loved seeing Irina and Seth learning about Alma together and watching them grow together as Seth helps Irina overcome her own troubles.
Through generations Alma and Ichimei's love grows even though they are apart, and through a deep search Seth and Alma learn about them through letters written to Alma every month. I loved Alma's energy in her older age, she is truly a force to be reckoned with and she does everything she can to remember her one true love. Honestly, it is hard to talk about some of the things that happen, but this book truly made me believe in soul mates and shows that a true love will never die as long as you remember it.