For fans of Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours and Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, a deeply moving novel that follows two Korean sisters separated by World War II.
Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. As a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier and is herself captured and transported to Manchuria. There she is forced to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength. She will find her way home.
South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made, but she must confront the past to discover peace. Seeing the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war to find forgiveness?
Suspenseful, hopeful, and ultimately redemptive, White Chrysanthemum tells a story of two sisters whose love for each other is strong enough to triumph over the grim evils of war.
Bracht's debut novel explores the horrors of war and the fortitude of familial bonds. In 1943 Korea, 16-year-old Hana is a haenyeo, a female diver who helps support her family with the catches she finds in the sea. But her life is forever altered when, in an attempt to hide her little sister, Emi, from a Japanese soldier, she is captured and forced to work at a brothel as a prostitute for Japanese soldiers in Manchuria. The story jumps forward to 2011, when Emi is in Seoul to visit her daughter, to find her sister, and to participate in the weekly Wednesday demonstrations that are held in front of the Japanese embassy to demand justice for the "comfort women" who were forced to become prostitutes during World War II. Emi has carried her guilt about Hana's abduction for decades, but now believes she may finally have a chance to find out what happened to her sister. Masterfully crafted, Bracht's mesmerizing debut novel is rich with historical detail and depth of emotion. This is a memorable story about the courage of Korean women during the Second World War.
The crimes against women will go on forever. It’s so horrendous that men believe it is their right to abuse women and children. Another outrageous crime is women who abuse their own sex.
Beautiful story that brings a terrible history to light
This story was wonderfully written. The author does an amazing job of bringing the characters to life and she tells of unspeakable acts on Korean women during WW II from the Japanese. I had no idea about this history. The author not only described the horrors endured by one of the main characters but she also described the hardships of living in Korea during that time, even if not kidnapped by the Japanese. This is a story that will stay with me for a while.
Haunting Truths of History...
My 82 yr. old stepmother is Korean and she cries every time she tells me about her hard life before she came to America - but she’s never mentioned any of the horrors that happened in this book. Because of Hana and Emiko, I have a better understanding of the realities she may have witnessed or lived thru. Thank you, Mary Lynn Bracht, for opening my eyes and heart to hear the rest of my “Umma’s” story.