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girlwellread

Girl Well Read

Developmental Editor by day, Book Blogger by night.

The Japanese Lover: A Novel

The Japanese Lover: A Novel - Isabel Allende

A special thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Allende's novel takes a closer look at relationships, family, and love. Irina, an immigrant from Poland accepts a job at a retirement home where we are introduced to Alma. Alma and Irina fall into an unexpected friendship that stems from Irina working as her assistant. This is also how Irina meets Alma's grandson, Seth. Irina and Seth bond over their mutual interest in Alma’s past which is slowly revealed through letters and mysterious flower deliveries.

Alma's backstory involves Ichimei, a boy she meets when her parents send her from Poland to the United States during the Nazis rise to power. Ichimei and Alma are close friends until his family is sent to an internment camp. The two initially exchanged letters but eventually lost contact when the government censors stopped forwarding mail. They continue to be reunited over the years, their love a constant.

The relationship of Alma and Ichimei is mirrored with Irina and Seth. Alma and Irena, both immigrants and slaves to tradition and Ichimei and Seth bound by family. I thought this was an unnecessary comparison, Alma's story was interesting enough to carry the book. Overall, there was some really beautiful writing and lovely passages.