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.
Long before Kristina's literary journey began, the extraordinary account of a family friend - one who had fought for America and his brother for Japan - had taken root in her mind. While researching the subject, she happened across a brief mention of approximately two hundred non-Japanese spouses who had chosen to live voluntarily in the U.S. internment camps. Stunned and fascinated by the discovery, she instantly knew it was a story that needed to be told.
In preparing for the book, Kristina learned a great deal from her research expeditions, which included: a pilgrimage to the Manzanar relocation camp, a flight on a B-17 bomber, an exploration of L.A.'s Little Tokyo, and interviews with several Japanese American WWII vets who bravely served in a secret branch of the U.S. Army, despite their families being interned back at home.
From the tragedies of war to the inspiration from such humble heroes, Kristina carefully gathered the pieces of what would become her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. Woven into the story is her unique insight as the American daughter of a Caucasian mother and Japanese immigrant father. But it is the rare perspectives and real-life accounts spotlighted on the pages that will undoubtedly shock and intrigue readers for years to come.
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View Kristina's photo album from her research trips