It’s 1945 in Grand Peak, Wyoming. After three years in a desolate internment camp, Hana Kato’s family receives the news they’ve longed for: all internees will soon be released! But the promise of freedom doesn’t come soon enough for Hana’s beloved father, who is taken to prison. Now Hana struggles to keep the family together, and must sort through feelings for two men—one Caucasian, one Japanese. How can she help her family endure turmoil and unthinkable tragedy as they prepare for life outside the barbed wire fence? How can she do any of this when the government and the God she trusted seemed to have abandoned them?
-Back Cover of EMANCIPATED HEART
World War II. A period of history so recent that many people can still give firsthand accounts of it, yet so distant that the reality of it can feel murky and unreal. But in Emancipated Heart, Jan Cline brings to vivid life a fictionalized story of some of the most innocent and forgotten victims of that war.
Following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes and relocate to internment camps as a precautionary measure against anti-American allegiances. In what amounted to an act of incarceration, the U.S. government effectively disrupted and destroyed the lives of many of its loyal citizens.
In this novel, Jan paints a brutally realistic picture of what life must have been like inside the walls of these internment camps. Her heroine, Hana Kato, is a young woman forced to keep her mother and siblings from losing hope when her father is taken from the camp to prison for bravely standing up for the rights of internees. Shunned by her fellow camp residents who want to disassociate from the resistance group, Hana loses her job as a laundress. She’s forced back into nursing as a source of income for the family, in spite of her hesitation to return to the career that was once her passion until she faced the horrors of Pearl Harbor.
This story is so well-told that I felt swept up in Hana’s emotional journey. The extent of Jan’s research as she crafted this plot line is evident in the rich details, such as the plain unpainted wood floors and walls of the camp hospital, and the image of newspaper cartoons depicting Japanese American’s as herded sheep.
Emancipated Heart is a story of faith in the face of the most unthinkable circumstances. Much like Anne Frank’s diary, this book is a piece of history with the humanity put back in. It would make excellent reading not only for historical fiction and World War II buffs, but for young people studying American history. Not just text book history, but the real, often untold, story.
Be sure to catch my interview with Jan, and enter to win a copy of EMANCIPATED HEART:
Visit Jan at: http://jancline.net/
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