In 1943 Hana, a haenyeo rushes from Jeju Island’s sea to save her younger sister, Emi from capture by Japanese soldiers. In her place, Hana is kidnapped and sent on a long journey north to become a comfort woman. But before she arrives at the northern brothel to service Japanese soldiers she is raped by her captor, Morimoto.
This is a well written but a difficult read because the story is based on what happened to from 50 000 to 200 000 Korean women during WW11.
In 1947 when Charlotte’s mother escorts her across to Europe for a discrete abortion in Switzerland, Charlotte escapes on a train to London. She clutches an address in the hope of locating her childhood friend, cousin Rose, who disappeared towards the end of WW11 in France. But behind the door of the address she grips is a broken drunk of a woman and an ex con. Can they help her find her beloved cousin?
This is an exciting read made more fascinating by the author’s use of a number of real characters, women who acted as spies during WW1. As well, she wove real events into this well written fiction.
Once Sam completes a rescue mission in Burma during 1942, he heads to Rudrakot after a plea from his mother back in Seattle, to find out what happened to his brother. In Rudrokot, he boards with the local Tamil political agent where he is drawn to Mila, the agent’s daughter who is expected to marry the state’s prince. Battling the loss of his brother, his growing love for Mila, a wound from his time in Burma, and the prejudice the British and Indians hold against mixed relationships, Sam discovers he cannot win all he desires.
Najin doesn’t want to live a traditional Korean life, but her father tries to force her into a marriage with an aristocratic family. Her mother, defying the obedient wife tradition, arranges a position for her in the king’s court as a companion to a young princess. With Japan’s control over the country and the dying monarchy, Najin’s life becomes oppressive. When she unexpectedly finds love, they are soon separated and she must face Japan’s attack on China and Pearl Harbour while her husband is an ocean away.
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 attitudes towards the people of this island.
Blackout is about a number of characters who travel back in time to view different events during World War II, but after they arrive, there’s a mess up in the time travel lab, and they find themselves unable to return to their future.
This is a fast pace, fascinating insight into the lives of regular people during the war. While Blackout abruptly ends, All Clear continues with the telling of this exciting adventure. I think the publishers found this story too long for one book and made it into two, much to my annoyance when I reached the end of Blackout and discovered the words, to be continued. Continue reading “Connie Willis’ — Blackout and All Clear *****”