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SWORD AND BLOSSOMS
PETER PAGNAMENTA & MOMOKO WILLIAMS
ISBN# 9780143112143
May 29, 2007
Penguin Books
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
Paperback
$16.00
368 Pages
Fiction
Rating: 5 Cups

British Army Captain Hart-Synnot is sent to Japan to learn the language with their new country’s ally. As an ambitious officer, he is part of five generations of Harts that have served in the military with high honors. Finding love in Japan was never an issue until he met Masa.

Masa Suzuki knows respect when it comes to her family and others. She works amid small shop keepers and craftsmen. As a dutiful daughter, she never knew she would discover love in the arms of a British soldier.

Captain Arthur Hart-Synnot knows much about loneliness, separations and duty being a military man. There are times he has not seen his siblings or parents for years. Leaving for Japan was just another journey in his career. Before leaving for the East, he knew nothing about Japan and his ambitions were military centered. As an amateur botanist that studied plants in India, Arthur took joy in his parent’s garden. Seeing the Japanese culture gave him another awareness of nature he admired. Then he met a breathtaking beauty that changed his life. Masa was limited to the acquaintance of many men unless it was family or the well-shaved shopkeepers and neighboring traders. Considered the lowly case, she was expected to hover in the background or take orders with a willingness of obedience and humility. She is happy to show Arthur places in Tokyo he might have trouble getting to. At the age of twenty-six, she is proficient after her experience with paper wholesalers and she likes Arthur. The only downfall is when duty calls and Arthur must leave. It is a lonely separation for the sweethearts. Five months later, when they are able to reunite, Masa proves she has kept her promise in keeping herself only for him. Arthur always says once the war is over, they will have their happiness, but sometimes tragedy, racial prejudices, and misery, have a habit of dictating one’s life. With over eight hundred letters written by Arthur, they prove their undying love to one another.

Swords and Blossoms is an overpowering tale that reaches deep into the reader’s heart. I was so moved by Arthur and Masa and their incredible journey and love story. There are so many moments that are hard to pass up without feeling a tug at the heart. As I read about Arthur being decorated for bravery, and looked at the black and white snapshots, not to mention the distressing letters of being separated, my heart was captivated. I do not think that I will ever forget this poignant story that captured the pure essence of love and devotion. Peter Pagnamenta & Momoko Williams narrate a compelling read that stirs the sensations with such a rich taste in history. I was spellbound and moved immensely. The images and emotions leap from the pages and make this a rare and extraordinary read. I highly recommend this rewarding story.

Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
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