When a long hidden piece of history is discovered in the basement of Seattle’s Panama Hotel, Chinese American Henry Lee is overcome with memories of 1942. During World War II Henry was a small boy attending an all white private school on a scholarship. There he meets another scholarship student named Keiko Okabe, a Japanese American.
Over time and a shared love of Jazz, Henry and Keiko fall in love but Henry is too shy to reveal his feelings. Before Henry works up the courage to take things further Keiko and her family is sent to an internment camp. Initially Keiko is where Henry can visit her but she’s soon moved to a camp in Idaho where Henry risks the wrath of his father to visit Keiko one last time.
Oh how I loved this book. It was an amazing tale of friendship and a long lost love. I fell in love with Henry and Keiko from the minute they were introduced. The ups and downs Henry went through at school and at home with his family were heart breaking. Every time I thought things would work out for him something negative would happen and I felt my heart wrench with emotion.
Towards the end of the book I was anticipating the conclusion so much that I wanted to cheat and just skip to the last chapter to see if everything works out for Henry. I loved that the book was told by alternating from 1942 to 1986. It just heightens the anticipation because you get bits and pieces of the story but not the whole picture until the very end. Needless to say this is a must read!