Amidst the turmoil of World War Two, we meet the young Alma who, for her own safety, is shipped off to San Francisco to live with her aunt and uncle. Here, she is introduced to the mysterious Ichimei Fukuda, son of the house gardener. A tender relationship grows between them but they are eventually torn apart by the horrors of war. As the story takes a modern turn, hope of a reunion appears in the form of Irina, a care worker for the now elderly Alma. Through their friendship, secrets from the past are brought to light. Allende’s attention to detail and engaging writing style make this a thoroughly gratifying tale, not only of romance but also of historical interest, as the reader is immersed in the wartime setting.
Lorna, Dubray Blackrock
From internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende comes an exquisitely crafted, multigenerational love story. In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis and the world goes to war, young Alma Belasco's parents send her overseas to live with an aunt and uncle in their opulent San Francisco mansion. There she meets Ichimei Fukuda, the son of the family's Japanese gardener, and between them a tender love blossoms, but following Pearl Harbor the two are cruelly pulled apart. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love they are forever forced to hide from the world. Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to reconcile her own troubled past, meets the older woman and her grandson, Seth, at Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, and learn about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.