Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J. Wisler


Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

Under the Silk HibiscusUnder the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J. Wisler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

This is the second novel I’ve read fairly recently about the United States internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, an aspect of the war that I don’t hear about as much as other aspects but one that mustn’t be forgotten.

In Under the Silk Hibiscus, author Alice J. Wisler poignantly illustrates one perspective of this time in U.S. history through the eyes of Nathan Mori, a contemplative and sometimes awkward teenager doing his best to take care of himself and his interned family at Heart Mountain in Wyoming. I appreciate how Wisler doesn’t confine the story to only the positives and negatives of Nathan’s few years of experiences in the camp, that the story follows Nathan and his family through the difficult task of rebuilding a life in a postwar America that would still look sideways at and discriminate against citizens of Japanese descent.

Admittedly, I didn’t find the central romance in the novel to be altogether convincing. Some eventual claims to constancy seemed like “too little, too late” for me to fully buy into them. The female members of Nathan’s family stood out more to me as characters in their own right, personality-wise, than Nathan’s love interest did. Also, it may have taken a third of the way through the novel or a bit longer before I really got a sense of a plot driving the telling of Nathan’s account, so it was a while before the novel truly gripped my interest, but the pieces of this affecting story did begin coming together wonderfully.

In all, a novel of family, faith, love, legacy, and bittersweet hope that I’d recommend to other historical fiction readers.


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