This was a wonderful book. I really enjoyed all the different aspects to it, including the characters of both Alma Belasco, the elderly resident of Lark House a truly exceptional home for the elderly; and her friend and helper, Irina Bazili. I loved how Allende tells each of the women’s stories in a slow and measured way, leaving us wanting to know more, but at the same time not covering up the “bad” parts.
This novel takes us from the terrors of World War II overseas regarding Alma’s family, to the truth of the Japanese concentration camps here in the U.S. and Alma’s friend Ichimel Fukuda experiences in one of the camps.
This book chronicles Alma’s life along with her present. The crux Alma’s story is the mysterious letters and flowers she receives along with the odd trips that she takes. Irina and Alma’s grandson Seth find themselves intrigued by these facts and spend time trying to track down the mysterious lover they are sure Alma is hiding. There is also a love story regarding Irina who is suffering from some sort of trauma from her own childhood and Seth. This story was compelling and once again attention is paid to child sex trafficking; which by my standards needs all the attention it can get.
Even though some of this novel was hard to read since the issues were not always pleasant, I really enjoyed it. There is character growth and you really feel that not only do you understand the characters, but they also have learned something along the way. I highly recommend this book.