Sunday, 16 December 2012

GARDEN OF STONES BY SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0778313526
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Pages: 320
Formats Available: Paperback, E-book

BLURB from Goodreads
In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up-along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans-and taken to the Manzanar prison camp. 

Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever...and spur her to sins of her own. 

Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield weaves a powerful tale of stolen innocence and survival that echoes through generations, reverberating between mothers and daughters. It is a moving chronicle of injustice, triumph and the unspeakable acts we commit in the name of love. 


MY REVIEW
I downloaded an e-arc of this one from Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.
The book cover colour's are mostly washed out grey's and the background shows a pretty desolate run down looking era, which represent the era and places spoken of in the book. There's the hand of a mother holding a young child as they head off towards the run down background. Which is basically what confronted Miyako and Lucy when they were "deported" "incarcerated"  at Manzanar. 
The book begins with Miyako, Lucy and her father being quite well off and living more than a good standard of life, with Lucy having pretty clothes to wear and dolls and toys to play with. Miyako is a complicated character and I think nowadays some would say that she was bi-polar in her mood changes and the whole taking to her bed when faced with things she didn't wish to see or deal with. Everything begins to change when the war starts. Peoples racism comes to the forefront and the "Japs" as they get called are ridiculed and avoided at all costs. Lucy's father is taken ill and taken to hospital to never return. Things quickly move on a downward spiral when it is proclaimed all "Japs" are to be sent to camps to live in. They can take only what they can carry themselves. Aiko, a friend of Miyako helps to pack up their house with them. Hard decisions are made what to take and what is sold  or left behind.
The camp called Manzanar is a bleak poorly constructed place, but the Japanese have to get on with what little life they are allowed to have.
The camp is ruled by soldiers and a few "important" men who take advantage of the "inmates" in every way possible. At first Miyako tries to resist but then has to concede just to protect her daughter Lucy.
The book goes on to tell of the terrors and sadness the Japanese have to endure, as well as telling us about the proud Japanese culture. The three main characters are Miyako, Lucy and Patty.
Miyako is forced to do something totally drastic and heinous to her daughter to try and protect her from the men at the camp. The book tells us of that incident and the death of Miyako and then the book follows the life Lucy manages to make for herself as well as the bad hand fate continues to deal her as time goes on. Certain things that happened at the camp come back to haunt Lucy and the members of Manzanar Camp when one of the Leading men at the camp is found dead. Suspicion falls on Lucy. Patty is staying at her mother's when she is questioned about the death as she is to be married soon. Patty has to try to work out what happened in the past to try and clear her mothers name, in time for the charges to be dropped and her mother free to attend her wedding. 
I really enjoyed reading this book, the lengths that Miyako had to go to trying to protect her daughter Lucy from the men in charge of the camp. I enjoyed learning a little about Japanese culture and the fact they are a very proud race. It was a miracle anyone ever left the Manzanar camp alive let alone went on to create a life for themselves after the war. The book saw childrens friendships change overnight because of Pearl Harbour not to mention all the Japanese businesses that had to be closed as no one would use them anymore during the war. The people living at Manzanar, if you can call it living, more like exsisting there, were treat terribly and kept in horrendous conditions.
It is a serious in depth read not a light quick read but I still have to say I enjoyed reading it. Sophie Littlefield's descriptions helped you literally visualize the Manzanar Camp.
So did I enjoy it? Yes, though shocking, harrowing and upsetting in places. Would I recommend it? To a mature reader, yes. Would I read more by Sophie Littlefield? Yes I have more of her books to read.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

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