White Chrysanthemum

Mary Lynn Bracht. Putnam, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1443-9
Bracht’s debut novel explores the horrors of war and the fortitude of familial bonds. In 1943 Korea, 16-year-old Hana is a haenyeo, a female diver who helps support her family with the catches she finds in the sea. But her life is forever altered when, in an attempt to hide her little sister, Emi, from a Japanese soldier, she is captured and forced to work at a brothel as a prostitute for Japanese soldiers in Manchuria. The story jumps forward to 2011, when Emi is in Seoul to visit her daughter, to find her sister, and to participate in the weekly Wednesday demonstrations that are held in front of the Japanese embassy to demand justice for the “comfort women” who were forced to become prostitutes during World War II. Emi has carried her guilt about Hana’s abduction for decades, but now believes she may finally have a chance to find out what happened to her sister. Masterfully crafted, Bracht’s mesmerizing debut novel is rich with historical detail and depth of emotion. This is a memorable story about the courage of Korean women during the Second World War. Agent: Rowan Lawton, Furniss Lawton Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 01/30/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-525-52424-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-49765-3
Ebook - 978-0-7352-1445-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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