Luz James feels lost. She’s been shifted from pillar to post since childhood because of her mother’s job. Now she’s in Okinawa, a tiny group of islands that belong to Japan. She’s already lost the grandmother she loved, but when she loses her closest friend, her sister, Luz can’t hold it together. She hangs out with a group every night to get high. On one of those nights she wanders off and encounters something that leads her on a path to discover her unknown family and the Okinawan women whose secret she discovers.
This is not only a great tale, but the historical setting with flashbacks to a young Okinawa school girl during the war reveals a lot about the Japanese and their prejudice towards the people of these islands.
Rebecca is disappointed that Eddie, her boyfriend of ten years hasn’t even made it to her mother’s funeral. Afterwards, at her mother’s flat, she sorts through a pile of mail while her brother and sister-in-law pack up her belongings. Amongst the mail is a letter from Olivia requesting help.
Rebecca remembers visiting Olivia in Cornwall as a child and decides to visit her relative. When she arrives, she learns aging Olivia is in hospital with a broken leg and her house is in shambles. Will Rebecca stay to help Olivia get her house in order so she can return home? What will she do about Eddie if she stays? What will she discover when she sorts through Olivia’s belongings? And what is it that Olivia wants to hide by ordering Rebecca to get the basement blocked up?
In 1943 Laura works with the chief negotiator on German access to Swedish iron ore when her friend from university, Britta, is tortured and murdered. She tries to discover what happened, but soon her own apartment is burgled and blown up. Despite the danger, Laura seeks the help of her past university friends and later the secretary to the minister of foreign affairs to eke out what Britta had uncovered that caused her death.
This is a very different WW11 story. Sweden remained neutral although it was pressured from both Germany and the Allies. And while the book is fictional, it is based on facts about what was happening with both German soldiers passing through Sweden and its indigenous Sami people.
In 1945 when Soviet troops arrive in Muttt’s German town and kick her and her two daughters, Hilde and Katja, out of their house, they begin to leave with other refugees. Not long into their journey on foot heading to Fahlhoff, Mutti is shot by a Russian soldier and the two girls are left to fend for themselves. When they reach Fahlhoff, they learn that their mother’s friend has a reputation for being a mean hag. Will they be allowed to live under her roof, or will they be forced to remain homeless the way they had been on their long journey?