Archive | May 2024

Four Seasons In Japan by Nick Bradley

Serenely Beautiful

Four Seasons In Japan by Nick Bradley is a gentle contemporary novel that I read in just one sitting.

Japanese fiction is soothing for the soul, and Four Seasons In Japan is no exception. There is a calmness and an ethereal beauty to the story.

This is a book within a book as we meet a young translator whose love for novels has gone cold. An accidental encounter with a book left behind on a train, awakens her passion for books once more.

The reader travels from Tokyo to rural Japan as a character goes to stay with his grandmother. He longs to find himself and to decide what to do with his life. Pressure from his mother to become a doctor has unsettled him.

We were created to follow our own dreams and not the dreams of others.

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The Woman In The White Kimono by Ana Johns

Lost & Found

The Woman In The White Kimono by Ana Johns is a powerful and heartbreaking dual timeline novel that I just could not put down. Though it is a fictional story, it is based on fact.

The action is set in Japan in 1957 and also in present day America and Japan. The chapters alternate between the two periods. In present day a young woman searches for the truth about her father’s navy career that took him to the Far East. A deathbed revelation means that she travels to Japan to find out the truth.

Japan in 1957 was very different to modern Japan. Fresh in the minds of its’ people was World War II and the dropping of the atomic bombs. Marriages and alliances with Americans were actively discouraged. Every family wanted their daughters to make fine matches with good Japanese families. Daughters who chose American partners were cast out. Any babies that were of mixed race, and especially those born to single girls were unwanted at best, cruelly denied life at worst.

The reader follows a character to a dreadful, beyond words, maternity home that was actually based on real life.

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Time Heal My Heart by Joni Scott

An Epic Read

Time Heal My Heart by Joni Scott is an epic historical novel that will educate you as you read.

The book covers the early decades of the twentieth century. The reader travels from England to Australia to continental Europe as we follow the author’s ancestors.

We witness a world on the brink of change, about to enter the modern era.

We see how the role of women changes. “What was the point in educating a girl?” Women were seen as inferior to men. In Australia women could vote but not in England. The suffragettes were active, pausing as the first World War began. Women did not get the vote until over a decade after the end of the war. Surprisingly, the war opened up opportunities for women as they stepped up to do the traditional male roles as the men had gone to war. “That is one good thing that will come from this … war, women’s rights.”

In the pre-war years we follow two sisters who bravely left the shores of England for Australia in 1912. They were incredibly brave as they left after the Titanic had sunk. We see their new life and the freedom’s they had.

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The House In The Water by Victoria Darke


The House In The Water by Victoria Darke is a marvellous dual timeline novel that I just could not put down. It is set in 1943 and 2013. The chapters alternate between the two time periods. The war years are told by a mixture of letters and narration. The house is the key on which everything hangs.

In 1943 the house is used by the army to treat soldiers who are battle scarred. “Their scars might be invisible, but they are no less real.” Today we would recognize PTSD but not in 1943. There were some very primitive methods used to treat mental illness, including electric shock therapy. These poor men received brutal treatment. Mental illness was not understood.

We also meet a nurse who is battling her own demons. She also has PTSD but shockingly “the army is not interested in treating women, even those who almost died in an enemy attack.”

The action in 1943 is seen through the nurse’s eyes. We get to know her intimately. She is kind and she is brave.

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