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.
And here is Sveta's review:
I am actually surprised that Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris was nominated for RITA 2013. I didn't think the book was horrible, but there were many elements that didn't really work for me throughout the story. I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves that worked for me. I will do hard to abstain from the spoilers.
The strengths of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves included a unique interracial pairing that went beyond the traditional ending of romance novel, and it was set in WWII. The war was presented from an American's point of view and that of Japanese-American's point of view and the story focused on multiple romances that were going on, or were trying to go on at the same time. I have also nearly cried when I reached the ending of the story and was reading a letter from one of the characters, wondering why this happened the way it did. I also enjoyed the atmosphere and description from Lane's point of view when he returned with Maddie after Pearl Harbor.
From the far corner of the lawn, Lane stared at the crime scene, his senses gone numb. No lights shone through the windows. By government order, darkness draped the city…
He recognized their type from the picture shows. That's what this had to be- a movie set. It wasn't real. At any moment, the word Cut! would boom from a director's horn and Cecil B. DeMille would leap from the trimmed hedges. (87)
However, there were weaknesses in Bridge of Scarlet Leaves as well. I thought the chemistry tended to be on a weak side for the main characters. The book also tended to be very episodic, and some of the episodes didn't connect well to create a cohesive narrative, or else I had a difficult time in imagining a cohesive picture. There seemed too much going on at the same time and although Kristina McMorris does her best with multiple viewpoints and characters, for me she didn't succeed. I also had trouble with understanding personalities of the characters, which didn't seem to stand out too much.