The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

Title: The Woman in the White Kimono
Author: Ana Johns
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5

In Japan in 1957 relationships with Americans were scorned and would lead to shame and public isolation. For Naoko Nakamura, love was worth the risk. After falling for an American soldier and discovering she was carrying his child, Naoko is forced to make an impossible decision. Will she stay with her family and get rid of the child, or will she follow her heart and start a new family of her own? Present day, Tori Kovač finds a mysterious letter addressed to Japan while caring for her dying father. The letter reveals a shocking truth that threatens to ruin her perspective of her father forever. To uncover the mystery that the letter holds, Tori travels to Japan and uncovers what love and family really mean.

“A life with love is happy. A life for love is foolish. A life of if only is unbearable.”

I cannot begin to describe how much I love this book! It may or may not now hold a spot in my top 5 favorite books. Prior to reading it, I had a different assumption on what the book was going to be like based on its description, however, it far exceeded my expectations. The Woman in the White Kimono gave me such strong emotions throughout its entirety. I am unashamed to say that I cried my eyes out when I finished it. Not because I was sad by how it ended, but because it was such a beautiful way to end both women’s stories. 

“To understand your direction, you must know both your roots and your reach.”

As I mentioned above, I had different expectations for what this book was going to be like prior to reading it. Based on the cover description, I thought it would be a romance book with a few connections to Japanese culture, but it really wasn’t a romance book at all. Although Naoko’s American soldier did play a large role, the story really wasn’t about him, it was about Naoko. I also learned a lot about Japanese culture and traditions. Japanese culture can be perceived as magical and the dedication to maintaining traditions is somewhat inspiring. I am looking forward to the day that I travel to Japan and get to experience this culture myself.

“Time is a stubborn creature that delights in goading you. When happy, it sprouts wings and flies. When waiting, it drags through thick mud with heavy feet.”

There are so many strong elements of this book including character development, setting descriptions, education components, etc. I could really go on and on about this book, but I will leave the rest up to your own conclusions. If you read this book and would like to discuss it further, please let me know!

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