- File Size: 8264 KB
- Print Length: 362 pages
- Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink (December 1, 2018)
- Publication Date: December 1, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07JZ2V8Q4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,250 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Plum Blooms in Winter: Inspired by a Gripping True Story from World War II’s Daring Doolittle Raid Kindle Edition
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About the Author
"The compelling and emotional story shows that, deep inside, our hearts all beat the same - no matter what our race or ethnicity - and that God's grace follows us into the deepest pit whether we've dug it ourselves or it's been dug for us." -Diversity Between the Pages
"Miyako's story was so full of twists and turns and surprises I never knew what to expect or even what to hope for her.... I am amazed that this masterpiece was written by a debut author. Keep your eyes on her." - Phyllis Werner Helton, Among the Reads
"Touched my heart in ways that are hard to express.... Gets the very rare very highly recommended rating! I definitely would recommend this book to anyone... but if you like WWII novels, The Plum Blooms in Winter should be in your library. It is a must-read!" - Beckie Burnham, By the Book --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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In The Plum Blooms in Winter, Linda Thompson portrays two human hearts rising out of the ashes of war. Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dave Delham dreamed of flying and returning home to America as a hero. Halfway around the world, 14-year-old Miyako Matsuura was a young student and the daughter of a notable family. A sense of noble destiny "sang through her blood" and her family's honor was foremost in her thoughts. Their worlds and priorities would be upended on April 18th, 1942 when Delham and the crew of the Pensacola Payback B-25 unleashed its payload of bombs on Osaka, Japan and then ditched in Japanese occupied China.
As an American, veteran, and military spouse I was initially drawn in by my deference to those who wear the uniform. I love the patriotic spirit of the story and the bravery shown by the servicemen while in captivity, but I also cringed at the actions of some after the war concluded. Through Matsuura and her family, readers begin to understand the weight Japanese culture places on honor. I enjoyed the balance between sides, the author's crisp pacing, and the gradual unveiling of the gospel message. Edgy, yet edifying, Thompson's debut is sure to leave its mark on you.
Some may be apprehensive about the subject matter of this story. If so, let me try to assuage your fears... For much of the book, Delham is a prisoner of war. He endures torture at the hand of his Japanese captors, with prisoner conditions echoing those chronicled in non-fiction history books. The author treads carefully with Matsuura's profession, giving it an air of authenticity without crossing the line into sensuality or salaciousness. Furthermore, these scenes demonstrate each character's depravity and that of their fellow man. By no means do I think Thompson has stepped beyond the bounds of what could be labeled Christian fiction. To the contrary, it was apparent to me she took great pains to be sensitive to her audience while delivering a powerful story of forgiveness and redemption.
The Plum Blooms in Winter highlighted for me the true battlefield for man—our hearts and minds. If you have time to squeeze in one more book before the New Year, let it be this one. If not, then you definitely need to add it to your list of books to read in 2019.
In an impressive knowledge of the strategic, tactical, and emotional factors of warfare - and in particular World War II - Ms. Thompson presents a duo of complex characters whose differing cultures and conceptions of moral rectitude are in direct conflict, putting them on a treacherous course both individually and mutually. The bombing raid on Osaka that was a successful mission to Dave was a calamity to Miyako. But under this over-arching conflict, both Dave and Miyako were internally conflicted. Lacking the spiritual insight that a well-anchored faith engenders, their perceptions of right and wrong produce situations where nothing seems right, and the choice that is least wrong - bad though it is - seems best.
Those conflicts notwithstanding, both Miyako and Dave have certain strongly held ethical principles and are willing to die for what each believes to be right. For example, to enable herself to care for her father, Miyako followed what she saw as the least wrong course, fully recognizing that it involved the balancing of conflicting moral values, leading her into a shameful secret life in violation of a strongly held belief. If exposed, it would earn the disapprobation of those dearest on earth to her, and severe punishment from those who had some aspect of control over her. Still, weighing the two sides, she believed her actions more right than wrong. Miyako’s duty to care for Papa-san, her gravely ill father, overrides all other duties but one – a perceived duty borne of Miyako’s misbegotten notion of a higher obligation - vengeance.
As is always true in war, tragic loss and extreme suffering were experienced on both sides of the war. In The Plum Blooms in Winter, Ms. Thompson presents the pathos of bitter heartbreak so vividly the reader personally experiences the intense emotions the happenings in the story evoke.
Faith is introduced into the story in a natural flow, not preachy and doctrinaire or using unnatural and improbable dialogue. Trying to avoid a spoiler, I’ll simply say that both Dave and Miyako suffered egregious injustices at the hands of vile persons while on their converging paths, potentially leading to permanent loss of their freedom if not their lives. The lesson for Dave and Miyako is that freedom does not depend on being freed from prisons but can be built on the most fragile flicker of faith. Dave and Miyako demonstrate through separate avenues the divine truth that the feeblest smoldering wick of faith, when acted upon, produces a response on which a stronger faith may be built.
Use of Japanese words and expressions makes reading a little difficult for monolingual Anglos, but the meanings are usually apparent from the context, antecedent or subsequent dialogue and narrative. While I feel it appropriate to mention that for the sake of some readers who might find the use of foreign words and expressions off-putting, it doesn’t deter my overall 5-star rating.
In the vicissitudes of learning to live uprightly in a world filled with evil, both Dave and Miyako endured the depth of degradation, treated as though they were worth less than nothing. But how short the distance is from the deepest pit to the very throne of God, whose ears and heart are accessible to all who call on him!
Favorite quote: "The poet said it best, perhaps. The plum is not the showiest of flowers, but when you see it's red blossom against the winter snow, you won't soon forget it. Beauty that thrives in adversity is of inestimable value, Matsuura-san. Always remember that." I highly recommend The Plum Blooms in Winter.