This incredibly moving page-turner set in present day and 1945, was one I couldn't easily put down. Described as being in the same vein as Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano, this debut novel is a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, hope and forgiveness, against a historical backstory equally as heartbreaking.
Amaterasu Takahashi opens her door to a badly scarred man who claims to be her grandson that perished in the bombing of Nagasaki along with his mother/her daughter Yuko, nearly forty years earlier. He brings with him a collection of sealed letters that drag Ama back to her memories in Japan that she tried to forget when she and her husband fled to America. Each chapter reveals more of her past life, the life of her daughter, their mutual love affair, and the death of her daughter and grandson, Hideo.
I would have given the novel five stars, but at times, it was hard to determine which character was telling the story with Ama and her daughter - perhaps this was done on purpose since they shared the same antagonist.