Sunday, November 22, 2020

Book Review: All We Left Behind by Danielle R. Graham (historical fiction romance)

 Set on Mayne Island, from 1941 to 1945, All We Left Behind is a sweet romance between Hayden Pierce and Chidori Setoguchi.

Buy this book

Published by One More Chapter

a division of Harper Collins Publishers

Published in 2020

'You didn't go and get sweet on that Jap girl now, did you?' (p. 15)

Prejudice is always there, around every turn, doggedly following Chidori--framing every tender moment with Hayden.

Chidori writes in her diary:  'Hayden is the only thing that truly brings joy to my heart during these harrowing times.' (p. 130)

Things go from bad to worse when, on Tuesday 21 April 1942, fifty Japanese Canadians are forced to leave Mayne Island. Frustrated because he is unable to prevent this injustice and enraged at being separated from his sweetheart, Hayden enlists with the Royal Air Force. And he faces the horrors of war--but he keeps Chidori's picture in his breast pocket. Memories of her buoyed him up at times of greatest peril, at times of greatest tragedy. 

In her Author Notes, Danielle R. Graham explains her reason for writing this novel...

'if [we] truly understand history [we] will be able to acknowledge the mistakes that were made, recognize prejudice when it is being repeated, stop messages of fear and bias from spreading, and have the courage to stand up for what is right.' (p. 350)

Graham uses a delicate hand and remains faithful to the era while writing funny and tender moments between Hayden and Chidori.

I can't imagine a better book to read during this month of remembrance. 

In All We Left Behind, Graham repeats this quote from Albert Camus, French philosopher and writer...

'In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me there's something stronger--something better, pushing right back.' 

Virtual (author) Reading...

Wednesday, November 25

I'll once again record two reads...

Gloves in My Pocket (poem)

a silly poem--my attempt at brightening things up a bit.

What's Wrong with Michelle? (short story)

Sarah thinks she knows and wants Amanda's help to correct things in Michelle's life.

Next Sunday...

Sunday, November 29

Did you know that this popular TV show was inspired by a book? What book? What is the book like? Is it similar to the show--in what way? Is it different? All these questions and more, hopefully, will be answered next Sunday. Well, at least I'll supply my answer to these questions. 

The only thing All We Left Behind is lacking (IMHO), is a word or two at the 

back of the book about the Japanese Gardens on Mayne Island. These gardens are breathtakingly beautiful and truly are a labour of love. Volunteers work tirelessly to develop and maintain this tribute to their Japanese-Canadians friends and neighbours. Because Mayne Island never forgot. 

 photo by ldyck


photo by ldyck 

photo by ldyck 

photo by ldyck 

The best times to visit the Japanese Gardens are in the spring and early summer and during Christmas. 

Sharing my author journey...

This Thursday, November 19, I searched my email inbox to see if anything need attending. Something did. I received an invitation to watch the Bookers at 7 pm GMT. The clock on my writing desk informed me that it was 10:50 am PST. One small calculation aided by a search engine and night became day. 
Did you see the Bookers? Don't worry if you missed it because here's the link:  Who won the 2020 Booker Prize
Don't you just love this modern age?

And speaking about that, there's also this...
On Saturday, I found a delightful surprise on Twitter--Frances Greenslade reading from her new release Red Fox Road. 

word count:  13,170 words

As I worked on my latest manuscript, I heard one of the secondary characters talking. I wasn't informed as to the name of the speaker so I guessed. Unfortunately, I guessed wrong and work came to a crashing halt. It was like wheels stuck in the mud. 

Okay, if it wasn't him, who was it?

Thankfully, I was finally able to solve that mystery on Friday. Wheels unstuck, away I chug.