All We Left Behind
Danielle R. Graham
One More Chapter/HarperCollins Publishers, Jan 2020, 255 pages
Romantic Historical Novel, Debut Historical Novel
Provided by Pub via NetGalley
The cover is very appealing, yet confusing. It is supposed to be from Hayden’s perspective, I would think, as he’s the one who would be looking back at Chidori. But she’s on the far side of the barbed wire with the airfield and the planes in the sky, so I’m not really too sure how to interpret the scene. I’d love to know how the book actually got its title and how the artwork for the cover was decided on.
Growing up and growing together on their own island, Mayne Island, British Columbia has created a feeling of having their own little world. But now the outside world is sticking its nose into their lives and it’s hurting. They’re young and in love, but he’s white and she’s Canadian-Japanese and from a family that’s quite well off. Once Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and those of Japanese descent start getting sent to detention camps away from the coast, Chidori and Hayden’s lives are torn apart. They promise not to forget each other and to find each other when this is all over. Chidori’s whole family is sent off to a detention camp and no one knows where they end up. Hayden decides he must fight to end this war sooner so they can be together again.
We know for a fact that Hayden has a really bad war. He keeps his pilot’s log up-to-date as best he can through it all. But what little we know of Chidori’s war is a foreshadowing in a letter from Hayden’s sister Rose and some things mentioned almost in passing in Chidori’s letters at the end. This is where I think the author dropped the ball a bit. I would have liked to have known a bit more of Chidori’s war, more of the details, more of the grit. I loved the ending, though and the little “mute” girl, Margie. Recommended.