The Diplomat's Daughter

Twenty-one-year-old Emiko "Emi" Kato has spent her life moving around the globe, due to her father's position in the Japanese diplomatic corps. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Emi and her parents are uprooted and sent away with other foreign diplomats, eventually landing in a bleak internment camp in south Texas. Homesick and lonely, Emi is drawn to Christian Lange, the son of German parents who were wrongfully arrested for un-American activities. Meanwhile, Emi's first love, Leo Hartmann, has fled his home city of Vienna for a refugee existence in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Through the eyes of these three protagonists, Karin Tanabe weaves a fascinating, vivid story of World War II in her fourth novel, The Diplomat's Daughter.

Tanabe (The Gilded Years) begins her story with Emi, who despite her cosmopolitan upbringing is sheltered and a bit spoiled, lacking Leo's native compassion or Christian's tender heart. But all three young people must grapple with previously unimagined tragedy on a personal and national scale, and Tanabe skillfully traces their journeys of sacrifice and growth. Leo waits tables at a seedy nightclub in Shanghai to make ends meet, while Christian enlists in the U.S. Army to avoid deportation to Germany. And when Emi ends up in the Japanese mountain town of Karuizawa, she repeatedly risks her own safety to help other members of her new community.

Rich with historical detail and full of appealing characters, The Diplomat's Daughter is a fresh, captivating story. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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