Tuesday Book Review: “On Liberty’s Wings”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

on liberty's wings diane dettmann

On Liberty’s Wings: A Post-WWII Novel

by Diane Dettmann

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478714026

Synopsis*:

The end of World War II signals a new beginning for America, but for twenty-two-year-old Yasu Nakahara and her family, harsh prejudices remain. Now married and leading a new life, Yasu faces barriers almost as unyielding as the years she and her family spent imprisoned in the Japanese internment camp in California during the war. Motivated by flashbacks of armed military guards and barbwire fences, Yasu strives to build a new life. She pours her heart and soul into her new teaching position while her husband Masato, a World War II veteran, faces his own battles of attaining an engineering degree and securing a job. On Liberty’s Wings: A Post-WWII Novel is a story of the strength of the human spirit and focuses on themes of forgiveness, choice, prejudice and change. Readers become immersed in Yasu’s evolution and her family’s recovery as they celebrate victories and grieve their losses.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Book 3 of the Courageous Footsteps series continues the story of Yasu, who is now married and leading a new life in the aftermath of World War II, which landed her family in a Japanese internment camp and resulted in the death of her beloved brother. How does one recover to lead a new life in the aftermath of such gut-wrenching disaster? That’s one of the keys to understanding the determined, feisty Yasu’s process as she faces a vastly changed world and life, including a new teaching job and expanding opportunities, even as her husband Masato struggles to pursue a degree and faces losing his job to an experienced, returning war vet.

Readers who have followed Yasu’s evolution in previous books will especially appreciate seeing these threads of change, which force characters to consider new actions, reactions, and consequences of their behaviors even as society changes and evolves around them. While the story stands nicely alone as an individual piece, when read in the wider context of Yasu’s life, it serves as yet another jigsaw puzzle piece creating the bigger picture of the World War II experience. Especially when taken as an integral part of this blossoming series, it is recommended for mature teens to adult readers seeking far more psychological depth and social inspection than the usual focus on the Japanese experience in America during the War.

– reviewed on the Independent Publisher’s Shelf at the Midwest Book Review

Other Reviews

Diane weaves in the intensity of racial actions and words with a story that ‘Americanizes’ a small Japanese American family just trying to make it in post-World War II America. They face the additional challenge of experiencing the advantages and disadvantages of being a minority in our society. Dettmann captures the basic goodness in human nature, showing how many treated this family as if they weren’t different while including reminders that negative racial thoughts are as much a part of human nature as that goodness. As a third generation Japanese American born and raised in the Midwest, I believe that Diane writes with an awareness of what it’s like being racially different that is quite accurate.

– Amazon reviewer John Suzukida

On Liberty’s Wings is a powerful, gripping novel that made me want to read it all the way through, in one sitting. Diane Dettman’s saga sweeps us through many experiences—love, overcoming prejudice, the desire for a new life and recovery from trauma, and the power of the individual in the midst of collective transformation. I was enthralled by Dettman’s beautiful characters and her vivid descriptions of real historic events, as well as how they impacted the lives of so many people. As a historical novel, On Liberty’s Wings offers rich and poignant insight into the often-unrecognized stories of Japanese internment camps, as well as a sense of personal proximity to the struggles of individual people. The book, although fictional, is a testament to the courage of those who have faced the odds, and the power of empathy and shared humanity in restoring hope. The book sheds light on painful experiences, but it’s truly my definition of a feel-good novel. I recommend it highly!

– Amazon reviewer Kelly McNelis

Book Trailer


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Saturday Book Review: “Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

yasu's quest diane dettmann

Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph

by Diane Dettmann

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755791

Synopsis:

In this skillfully woven coming-of-age story, Yasu Sakamoto continues her journey that began in Dettmann’s award-winning book, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph carries readers into the next phase of Yasu Sakamoto’s life so smoothly that the book can be read independently or as a sequel.

With a keen sense for detail, author Diane Dettmann skillfully draws readers into an engaging story about an unexpected friendship that develops between Yasu Sakamoto and Martha Annala, a university professor. When they first meet on a train headed to Minneapolis, Yasu is afraid to trust Martha with any information about her past and lies about her identity to protect herself and her family. Alone and with no place to go, Yasu eventually tells Martha about leaving her home in Glenville and the three years she spent imprisoned in the internment camp. Martha feels Yasu’s pain and opens her heart and home to her.
As the war intensifies anti-Japanese attitudes escalate in America and the hostility runs rampant. Martha’s decision to befriend Yasu ultimately creates hardships and challenges in her own life. Relationships with university colleagues become strained, but Martha remains committed to her friendship with Yasu. Negative looks and anti-Japanese comments surround Yasu everywhere she goes. She deeply misses her parents, her brother, Haro, and Kenta, her loving German shepherd, but knows she must push forward.

Critique:

How can an eighteen-year-old girl escape from a U.S. internment camp for the Japanese that has been heavily and successfully guarded for three years? The opening of Yasu’s Quest, continues the saga begun in Courageous Footsteps, which observed the pre-camp life and early internment of the Sakamoto family. Familiarity with this prior novel will lend a special appreciation for this powerful sequel, which goes in a different direction as it outlines Yasu’s choices.

The Sakamotos have been devastated by the war as much or more so than any other American family (“How can this be happening? First my son dies in combat, then my daughter disappears and now my husband’s in jail.”). Yasu’s escape is just one more trial they have to bear in an impossibly changed world; and as for Yasu herself – how can she hide when her Japanese heritage gives her away?

Her journey to Minneapolis results in a chance encounter and an unexpectedly friendly face, and her life changes. Yasu and Martha each confront their changing world with innovative survival techniques that provide insights into both the larger issues of domestic World War II and its daily challenges (“With sugar rationing still on, women often use beer for setting their hair. So I gave it a try. Seems to work and I just put it in the refrigerator and use it over and over until it’s gone. Sometimes even spit works.”).

Diane Dettmann’s careful attention to focusing on both aspects of this world and both bigger and smaller pictures of changed lives makes for a far more thoughtful, detailed inspection than most World War II accounts provide, creating a series of insights based on Yasu’s evolving experiences in college and the family’s life as the war draws to a close.

The contrast between a young woman making her way in this changed world and a family on the edge of return to a world both familiar and alien makes for a riveting story line that clearly reveals the difficulties of the times: “Even the letters to the editor were filled with vicious comments about preventing the Japanese Americans from returning to their homes. Mr. Sakamoto folded up the paper and tucked it in his suitcase. His joyful thoughts of returning home were replaced with fear and anxiety.”

Will the family reunite, and how will they pick up the pieces of shattered lives and rebuild, along with the rest of America? One woman’s act of kindness could change all their lives. Yasu’s Quest neatly covers issues of loss, grief, recovery, and acts of kindness as it presents a journey that ultimately transcends the forces of division and injustice pummeling the Japanese family.

While teens will be the likely readers of this novel, many an adult will find that Yasu’s Quest holds perspectives and details that are as enlightening as they are involving. It, along with its companion, are thus highly recommended picks for any reader interested in a powerful, ultimately hopeful, view of World War II’s lasting effects on the Japanese in America.

 

reviewed by Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

I have been waiting for the sequel to Courageous Footsteps – which I couldn’t put down! What a great novel with important historical references, but also developed characters that I could relate to. Thank you Diane! A must read!

– Amazon Reviewer Kelly McNelis

Love this book…fast read…held your interest…hard to put it down!

– Amazon Reviewer Karen Grossaint


saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Saturday Book Review: “Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel diane dettmann

Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel

by Diane Dettmann

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755586

Synopsis:

PACIFIC RIM BOOK FESTIVAL WINNER!

Courageous Footsteps is a historical novel about two teenagers, Yasu and Haro Sakamoto, who, along with their family, are imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in eastern California during WWII. Surrounded by barbwire fences, Yasu and her brother struggle to make sense out of their young lives. They long to return to the life they enjoyed in Glenville, California, but instead are forced to endure hardships and make choices that will change their lives forever. Awarded runner-up in the Great Midwest Book Festival in the young adult category, this piece of America’s history is an informative, eye-opening read for adults too.

Critique:

The majority of novels about World War II are directed to adult audiences, but Courageous Footsteps is a story for teens and presents the experiences of Yasu and Haro Sakamoto, who are removed (along with their family) from their Glenville, California home and interred in a concentration camp.

All ages will find Courageous Footsteps a gripping, eye-opening approach, for several reasons. One is its ability to provide a stark contrast between the comfortable, middle-class American lifestyle experienced by the family at the novel’s opening with life behind barbed wire fences after they are removed from their home.

Few other novels, adult or teen, so adequately portray the emotions, daily experiences, and struggles of the Japanese during this period of time. From the moment Pearl Harbor is bombed and war is declared with the Japanese to the President’s orders to take away their lives, Courageous Footsteps progresses swiftly and documents the quick rise of fear and its accompanying prejudice, which place the family in constant danger and flux.

Nearly overnight, the Sakamotos become enemies of the people and are attacked, beaten, and maligned by strangers who only see their Japanese faces and not their American identities. Their personal possessions (radios, guns, cameras, binoculars) are confiscated by the Army in the name of national security, the family is forced to do the best it can under prison conditions, and camp regulations take over their formerly-free lives.

How does a family stay together and preserve their shattered dreams under such conditions? Courageous Footsteps is as much a story of this survival process as it is a documentation of one girl’s evolving determination to escape this impossible life and resume her dreams.

Teens and new adult audiences alike will find Courageous Footsteps evocative, compelling, and hard to put down.

reviewed on Donovan’s Bookshelf of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Book really made me think about what these American born Japanese American citizens went thru at the hands of our government. How sad the way they were treated. This book evolves the characters so well with just enough info about them and not so much that you get bogged down with their personalities. Just a marvelous book that gives so much insight into what the Nisei’s went thru. How they worked so hard to build their lives and then to have it taken away and have them herded into these camps, how badly they were treated and how awful the conditions. OMG I admire and respect them for their perseverance and how they all worked together and were so respectful of their parents. Haro worked hard and applied himself and fought hard for this country after how badly he was treated. It was a different time…you won’t find many kids today with this kind of respect for their parents nor their work ethic. Just an amazing and enlightening book! Can’t wait for the sequel!

– Amazon Reviewer Karen Grossaint

The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII is a period of history which I was not familiar with. I had read magazine articles but they only touched the surface. Ms. Dettmann’s book is a real eye opener! I had no clue what my fellow Japanese Americans faced and the atrocities they lived through! While this book is a historical fiction novel, I had to continually remind myself of just that. The author’s extraordinary writing skills made it read like a true story. The characters and their experiences seemed so real.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were rounded up and arrested like common criminals. They were forced in to camps against their will and remained there until the end of the war. The reader follows the painful journey the Sakomoto family through the eyes of their teenage daughter Yasu. They were law-abiding American citizens in 1941. They owned a small business in Glenville, California. Being a close knit family, they had a deep love for one another and their country. The quiet, peaceful life they had known changed quickly after the bombing. Persecution from fellow townspeople and even friends was immediate and harsh. Their lives became endangered in the very area and by the people that had been a part of their happiness.

My heart broke for young Yasu. Being a teenager is hard enough, but to face adolescence with such rejection and hostility was excruciating. Her sweet family continued to trust their country and government right up to their arrests. The gentle humble spirits of the Japanese were a great contrast as to how most Americans would have responded to this extreme discrimination.

I had no clue the camp conditions were so degrading and horrific. My first thought was about the concentration camps of the Jews. These camps were not as severe as Hitler’s, but they were shocking. There was filth, crowding, squalid living conditions, poor food, such as I would never have dreamed could take place in America. The author took me into the camp, to walk daily with the Sakamotos, living their experiences and allowing my heart of feel their emotions.

Though each era had different details, I saw a common thread running through history in the injustice toward other groups: the slavery of African Americans, the Chinese in the early 1900’s, the Jews, and the Japanese. People that had done no wrong but were victims of fear and misunderstanding.

I do disagree with this being labeled as a “young adult fiction”. This book is for teens and adults too! A must read for all! Watch for a sequel!

– Amazon Reviewer Moonpie

 AUTHOR INTERVIEW


saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1