The Woman In The White Kimono by Ana Johns Legend Press July 15th 2019
Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage secures her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community. However, Naoko has fallen for an American sailor and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.
America, present day. Tori KovaÄ, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation. Setting out to learn the truth, Tori’s journey leads her to a remote seaside village in Japan where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.
Inspired by true stories, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.
If you want a contemporary novel that’s a little bit different then The Woman In The White Kimono is definitely for you.
Set in the present day and 1950’s Japan it told the story of Naoko and Tori.
Naoko, a young woman who attempted to navigate a new way of thinking and life in Japan held back by a family still intrinsically stuck in tradition. Her love for an American sailor versus an arranged marriage with a Japanese man, was always destined for disaster, for conflict and consequences that were utterly devastating. And this is where the novel excelled as Johns interwove old folk stories and Japanese traditions into her narrative. I have no words that I can find to say how beautiful it was, how John’s turned what was just an ordinary love story into something that was hugely affecting and poignant.
She gave us a young woman who was brave, so committed, who gave up everything, and in the end made the ultimate sacrifice that you could not help but be moved by what you read.
I loved how Johns used Tori, an American journalist, and her unravelling of the questions in her fathers last letter to provide the contrast, to discover a life her father had never spoken of. It was only as you read that you saw the links, that you held your breath, wondered if Tori would find answers, and indeed peace for herself and maybe redemption for her dead father.
Nothing was quite as it seems or what I expected and indeed the final truth was one of the most moving piece of writing I have ever read. The horrors that Johns unearthed of a past Japan seemed unbelievable yet you knew they were based in truth and just so sad and cruel.
The Woman In The White Kimono was superb and it’s inclusion as part of the Radio 2 Bookclub well deserved and I hope the readers will appreciate this beautifully moving and poignant novel.
I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The Woman In The White Kimono to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Ana Johns, a Metro-Detroit native who now resides in Indianapolis, studied broadcast journalism and worked over twenty-years in the creative arts field, as both a creative director and business owner, before turning her hand to fiction.
Her debut Historical Fiction novel, THE WOMAN in the WHITE KIMONO, both a Globe and Mail instant bestseller and BBC Radio2 Book Club Pick, while fiction, is crafted from historical events and real stories, including her father’s. She was inspired by his story of the beautiful Japanese girl he loved while enlisted with the US Navy and how her family had invited him to a traditional tea.