March 02, 2018

#BookReview: White Chrysanthemum by @marylynnbracht with @adivineeternity

About the Book: In the spirit of Lilac Girls, the heartbreaking history of Korea is brought to life in this deeply moving and redemptive debut that follows two sisters separated by World War II.

Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. As a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier and is herself captured and transported to Manchuria. There she is forced to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength. She will find her way home.

South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made, but she must confront the past to discover peace. Seeing the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war to find forgiveness?

Suspenseful, hopeful, and ultimately redemptive, White Chrysanthemum tells a story of two sisters whose love for each other is strong enough to triumph over the grim evils of war.

Reviewed By: Caity G.
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Books
Recommended Age: Adults
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I Acquired this book: Sponsored
Overall rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author: Mary Lynn Bracht completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. An American author of Korean descent living in London, she grew up in a large ex-pat community of women who came of age in postwar South Korea. In 2002, Bracht visited her mother's childhood village, and it was during this trip she first learned of the “comfort women.” White Chrysanthemum is her first novel.

Noteworthy experiences while reading this book: If you know how often I cry when I read a book (next to never), you'll understand why the fact that this book made me cry is SO significant

Check out author's other books? YESSSS
Recommend this book? Not only do I recommend it, I wish I had the power to REQUIRE it

Notes and Opinions: Some people can't handle this kind of content, and that's ok. Those people typically have the kind of first-hand experience with it that makes me wish I could kill the people responsible without being questioned later.

For those of you who are able to read books involving these very sensitive subjects, please read this. I promise, it's worth it. You will definitely get angry. Without a doubt, you will want to harm people. I feel like these are normal reactions.

White Chrysanthemum covers a period of Korean and Japanese history that I get the sense is not widely known. I knew a little about it going into the book, but not much. Prior to WWII, Japan had invaded and colonized Korea, outlawing their language and customs and culture over a period of time, simply because Imperial Japan was kind of a douche like that. Among the many horrible things they did, like sending Koreans to fight in the Japanese army, the Japanese kidnapped Korean women and girls and forced them into prostitution as "comfort women" meant to provide respite for the soldiers during the war.

That is what this book is about. It's about knowing when to give in, and what the difference is between giving in and giving up. It's about seeking restitution from those who have wronged you and the frustrating and horrific losses suffered by those we don't always consider during times of war.

It broke my heart into a zillion tiny pieces and then tried to rebuild it, over and over again. I cried and I nearly threw my book across the room several times. If you want to learn about horrors of WWII other than the Holocaust, this is a book you can start with.

Go Into This One Knowing: TRIGGER WARNINGS: Rape, sexual assault, A LOT OF BLOOD, more rape, sexual slavery, kidnapping, death of a child, physical assault

 Disclaimer: "All opinions are 100% honest and my own."  Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information. Buying via these links allows my site to get a % of the sale at no cost to you. This money gets used to buy items for giveaways. 

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