In Tag’s historical romance, a Japanese-American woman unravels a closely guarded family secret and discovers the depths of her mother’s love.
For Kazuko Armstrong and her younger brother, Patrick, October 2000 is a time of great sadness. Their father, James, is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease and their mother, Keiko, has suffered a debilitating stroke. Despite their grief, the siblings take great comfort in their parents’ love, which has endured despite many hardships and tragedies. Keiko Tanaka and James Armstrong grew up in Bellevue, Washington, and became engaged shortly after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. They married just before the Tanaka family was sent to a series of internment camps, including the Tule Lake Relocation Center in California, and James enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Kazuko was born at Tule Lake, and the Armstrong family wouldn’t be reunited after the end of the war. During the Tanakas’ internment, they suffered the loss of Keiko’s twin sister, Misaki, and older brother, Masao. Years later, with Keiko on her deathbed, a surprise visitor provides Kazuko with an intriguing connection to her family’s past. Tag successfully combines the story of James and Keiko’s romance with a compelling mystery. The parallel narrative skillfully weaves Kazuko’s modern-day story with Keiko’s experiences in the early 1940s, resulting in a fully realized portrait of both women and their families. The tale is further enriched by its well-developed supporting characters, including Keiko’s parents, Akemi and Isamu; and Takeo Sato, Misaki’s fiancé at Tule Lake. Tag handles the central theme of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II in a forthright, sensitive manner, presenting a variety of viewpoints on the moral and ethical issues involved. The Tanaka, Armstrong and Sato families have very different responses to life in the camps, and as the story develops, Tag shows how the children are affected by their parents’ points of view.
A poignant romance anchored by a rich cast of characters and detailed setting, which will likely appeal to fans of historical fiction.