ARC Review: The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Posted November 4, 2015 by Francesca in Reviews / 3 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
ARC Review: The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
The Japanese Lover
by Isabel Allende

4 Stars

BOOK INFO


Released: November 3rd 2015
Published by Atria Books
Narrator: Joanna Gleason
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook
 

“This is a beautifully heartbreaking story about life, love and mistakes.  Love had, love lost.  Love that can withstand the test of time.  Love that can help heal.”
~ Under the Covers

THE JAPANESE LOVER is a beautiful life story about two women.  One at the end of her complicated life, and one at a crossroads in the middle where she has to overcome her past.  Alma Belasco, originally from Polland, came to live with her aunt and uncle in the US when she was a little girl.  They gave her a lavish life catering to her every whim, raising her in a society where she never has to want for anything.  During her childhood, she becomes best friends with a Japanese boy.  Although life tears them apart, that friendship marks her life and throughout the years, as their relationship changes, becomes the biggest part of who she is.  Friendship turns into love, turns into loss and pain.

We meet Alma when she’s an old woman living in a retirement home.  Her only companions?  Her grandson Seth and one of the caretakers at the home, Irina.  The second woman we get to meet in this book and whose life becomes forever changed by this story.  She’s young and down on her luck, having a past that tortures her every day.  But it’s Alma and her story, and eventually Seth and his love, that make a big difference for Irina.

This is a beautifully heartbreaking story about life, love and mistakes.  Love had, love lost.  Love that can withstand the test of time.  Love that can help heal.  But also centers around prejudice and how it can break someone and get in the way of happiness.   Although this story is a bit understated, and it starts off slower than I would’ve liked, by the time it gets going you can’t help but get lost in these characters and want to know more.  I felt like a little kid waiting for grandma to tell the story of her life.  Her adventures.  The format in which it’s told going back and forth between past and present, was perfect to show the reader how they got here.  And the ending is bittersweet.  This is definitely a book that surprised me by making me shed a tear on more than one occasion because the writing was so subdued, the emotions snuck up on me.

As much as I enjoyed this book a lot, I have to admit I couldn’t help but compare it to her other work and see it fall short of my expectations.  Isabel Allende is legendary in her writing and I can’t quite see this as being up there with her classics.  However, if you go into it with a clear mind or if this is your first foray into her writing, I believe you won’t be disappointed with this story full of depth.

Favorite Quotes:

Whoever says that every flame must sooner or later be extinguished is wrong.  Because there are passions that blaze on until destiny destroys them with a swipe of its paw.  And even then, hot embers remain that need only a breath of oxygen to rekindle.  

For a split second she hated this man, forcing her to confront her most despicable side.  Only to be instantly overwhelmed by the huge wave of love and desire she always felt when he was with her. 

It was then that she launched into the speech that she had prepared with all the care of a legal clerk.  About how she loved him, and would do so for the rest of her life, but that their love had no future, was impossible.  How family and friends were starting to become suspicious and ask questions.  How they came from very different worlds and had to fulfill their own destinies.  How she had decided to continue her art studies in London and so they would have to part.  Ichimei received this battering with the resoluteness of someone prepared for an attack. 

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About Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at several US colleges. She currently resides in California with her husband. Allende adopted U.S. citizenship in 2003.

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Francesca

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
Francesca
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Amy R
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Amy R

Sounds good, thanks for the review.

Timitra
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Timitra

Thanks for the author intro and review Francesca

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

Ooooo that last quote paired with the review made me want to cry!