Monday, July 29, 2013

On Tour with Rising Sun, Falling Star by Vickie Hall

    Rising Sun
Different eyes and skin Mock me from the mirror’s light Enemy am I. Dec 7, 1941 Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . . The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.” Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another. When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever increasing emotional and physical challenges, and Aiko is faced with her greatest yet: to mend the broken spirits of her family, or risk losing them forever. Based on true and tragic events that transpired during World War II, Rising Sun, Falling Star is a heart-rending story of one family’s struggle to survive uncalculated loss and emotional destruction.

I've been looking forward to reading this book since I signed on for the blog tour. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction. Before reading this book I didn't really know much about the injustice done to the Japanese Americans during WWII other than it happened and it was awful. This book was everything I was hoping it would be.  I not only gained a better knowledge of the events but I developed an emotional connection to this event in history.  I would really love to do some further reading and research on this.

I thought the author did an excellent job of giving a real and vivid story without it becoming too overwhelming and bogged down.

The book follows the Onishi family who loves in California near San Francisco.  After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the backlash extended to the Japanese Americans living here in the United States.  Honestly, it's just heart wrenching to read of the horrible injustices the Japanese Americans endured at the hands of their own country.  So, so sad.

I loved how I was able to see the story from each member of the Onishi family.  Each had a different voice, a different way of thinking and feeling about the struggle they endured.  It was so easy to empathize with them.  I could easily envision them and their surroundings.  One of the most touching parts to me was when the family literally burned everything that came from Japan ~letters, flags, clothing, and anything that even remotely looked Japanese.  They didn't want to give the government any reason to doubt their loyalty to America.  Family heirlooms, memories, everything.  Gone.  That part really resonated with me.  

The whole story was engaging and interesting and I feel like I came away a better person for reading it.
Content:  This book had no swearing or sex.  At one point a girl is attacked by some unsavory men but the situation is interrupted before anything happens.  There are some violent moments but nothing too offensive or descriptive.

Enjoy the following excerpt from Rising Sun, Falling Star:
“Mama, what’s wrong?”

“Come with me,” she ordered. “Hurry.”

Meri pulled hard against her mother’s tightened grasp. “Mama, what’s happened? Where are we going?”

“You see,” she said, breathless with her quickened steps. She made a beeline to the telephone pole by the post office. Meri followed, a look of dread splashed across her face as they came to a stop in front of the sign. “Tell me what say,” she said, pointing.

Meri cradled her books in her arm and stared up at the sign. She began to read and her eyes widened. “Mama,” she gasped, “we’re being evacuated!”

Aiko’s stone-like face never flinched as she absorbed the news. “What else it say?”

Meri spun toward her mother. “Where are they sending us? What’s going to happen to us?”

Aiko lifted her chin toward the sign. “Read more.”

Meri blinked back tears and turned to face the sign. “A responsible member of the family must report tomorrow to the Civil Control Station for further instructions between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.”

Aiko motioned to Meri’s books. “Write down what it say.”


Aiko touched her daughter’s arm. “We be fine,” she said, adding a soft smile. “Write down.”

Meri’s hands were shaking as she took out a pencil and opened her notebook. She wrote down all of the instructions posted on the sign in careful detail. When she had finished, she looked at her mother with beseeching eyes. “Oh, Mama . . . this is horrible. It’s not fair!” Meri exclaimed, coming alongside her mother. “It’s just not fair!”

Aiko could see the desperation in her daughter’s expression and brushed Meri’s cheek with the back of her fingers. “Meri, fallen blossom cannot return to branch. We pick up pieces and wait for new blossom.”

Author Vickie is a native of Utah, but growing up, lived in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska. When she’s not writing, she’s composing music, or shopping with her sister. She loves animals of all kinds and camping with her family. Her favorite pastime is watching old movies on TCM, and unashamedly has a crush on Cary Grant.
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your post and the giveaway. Sounds like a great book. evamillien at gmail dot com


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