Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
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.
- 2013 RITA® Award Finalist
- 2013 HOLT Medallion Award Finalist
- 2012 Coffee Time Best Book of the Year
- Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
Behind the Story
It was many years ago when I first heard the extraordinary account of a family friend—how, remarkably, he had fought for America and his brother had served for Japan. The story stuck with me. Gradually it evolved into the seed of a very personal novel, given that my mother is a Caucasian American and my father is a Japanese immigrant. But it wasn't until I was knee-deep in research that I made another stunning discovery: the fact that approximately two hundred non-Japanese spouses had chosen to live voluntarily in what are known as U.S. internment camps. I instantly knew it was a part of history I needed to tell.
In preparing for the book, my research expeditions became unforgettable highlights. They included a pilgrimage to the Manzanar relocation camp, an exploration of L.A.'s Little Tokyo, and even a flight on a B-17 bomber! But truly, it was my interviews with several Japanese American WWII veterans that made the greatest impact on me. These men had bravely served in a secret branch of the U.S. Army, risking their lives in a fight for democracy, all while their families were interned back at home. And yet, to this day they insist they were simply "doing their jobs as Americans."