Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris Book Review

In this poignant and evocative novel by acclaimed author Kristina McMorris, a country is plunged into conflict and suspicion—forcing a young woman to find her place in a volatile world.

Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

Skillfully capturing one of the most controversial episodes in recent American history, Kristina McMorris draws readers into a novel filled with triumphs and heartbreaking loss—an authentic, moving testament to love, forgiveness, and the enduring music of the human spirit.
-Barnes & Noble

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris can be defined as one of the most well done novels of 2012 thus far. This is the first World War II era novel that I've had the privilege of reading, and I'm so happy I got to experience a journey so beautiful. McMorris has taken me through so many emotions in my few days of reading--I didn't expect to feel what I felt! I purchased this novel from Kinokuniya, which I'm really excited I did, given the topic of this novel. From the moment I opened it, I couldn't tear myself away from it even if I tried. McMorris breaks the novel into seven parts, and writes from the varied perspectives of the main characters. It was so interesting to watch each point of view weave into the others, thus, tying the reader to each one.

Every single character is wonderfully human. I adored Lane and Maddie, and their ups and downs with staying united, regardless of the war that threatens to tear them apart. I loved learning about Japanese culture, and tradition, as Maddie does throughout the novel. TJ, Maddie's brother, is challenging, but not in a way that is unrelatable. I could feel his every struggle as he dealt with personal conflicts and pain. I would've loved to see more of Maddie's best friend, Jo. She is such a strong character that is charismatic and effervescent, yet, deals with her own struggles.

Not only is McMorris' writing style stellar, evoking the most classic of voices from the 40s, her research is impeccable. If she didn't come out and plainly state that this novel is a work of fiction, it could've easily read as a historical/biographical account! Yet, it is the true story of those who had to endure horrible racism, and removal from their homes as American citizens to camps labeling their culture and ethnicity a threat. My heart was broken so many times over the course of this story. But McMorris pens a novel of great hope, and knowledge that in the end, we are all fighting the same fight. This novel needed to be written. It will go into my Bookish Delights collection (novels with characters that feel like family members, and which will most likely be re-read).

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves is an epic novel filled with romance, adventure, and disturbing realities. It deserves high acclaim! Also, as much as I would rather some novels not become films, I can see this on the big screen!

I give Bridge of Scarlet Leaves 5 out of 5 cups of Earl Grey, and a cup of red bean ice cream!