New Books Network

Ana Johns

The Woman in the White Kimono

Park Row Books 2019

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Historical FictionNew Books in LiteratureNew Books Network June 11, 2019 C. P. Lesley

Naoko Nakamura is only seventeen when she falls madly in love with an American navy man. It’s 1957, and the US occupation of Japan...

Naoko Nakamura is only seventeen when she falls madly in love with an American navy man. It’s 1957, and the US occupation of Japan has ended just a few years before, leaving bitter memories in the local population. Even though Naoko’s beloved Hajime wants to marry her, her family will have nothing to do with him—in part because they have another husband picked out for her, but also because marriage to an American will cast shame on the entire family. When it becomes clear that Naoko is pregnant, her mother gives her a choice: rid herself of the child or leave the family forever.

More than fifty years later, as Tori Kovac’s father lies dying, she learns he once had, as he puts it, “another life before this one.” Her journey to discover the truth of that other life leads her halfway around the world as she struggles to separate truth from the stories—always dismissed as fiction—that her father told her as she was growing up.

Ten thousand babies were born to Japanese women fathered by US servicemen; the vast majority of them did not survive. The Woman in the White Kimono (Park Row Books, 2019) explains the challenges that the children and their mothers faced. Ana Johns tells a story that will linger in your mind long after you turn the last page.


C. P. Lesley is the author of nine novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess, The Vermilion Bird, and The Shattered Drum), a historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible, and Song of the Siren, published in 2019. Find out more about her at http://www.cplesley.com.