cover image The Garden of Stones

The Garden of Stones

Sophie Littlefield. Harlequin Mira, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1352-6

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, teenaged Lucy Takeda and her family are sent to the Manzanar relocation camp in the California desert, but her father's death leaves Lucy and her beautiful mother, Miyako, without protection. Inside, survival means a seamstress job and putting up with the aggressive advances of George Rickenbocker, a brutal businessman overseeing Miyako's work at the camp. Rickenbocker, a stereotypical villain, gets Miyako pregnant, casually casts her aside, and makes it clear that Lucy is next. Desperate to protect her daughter, Miyako disfigures Lucy, stabs Rickenbocker to death, and hangs herself, leaving Lucy alone until she's allowed to leave the camp. Years later, in San Francisco, a murder investigation leads the police to Lucy's door, and forces Lucy to tell her own daughter, the same age now that Lucy was in the camp, the horrible tale she's kept inside for so long. By looking at the effects of internment across generations, Littlefield (Hanging by a Thread) makes her tale resonant and universal. While some plot twists are predictable, the gripping story, unfolding over two different decades, makes up for it. Agent: Barbara Poelle, the Irene Goodman Agency. (Mar.)