"Their story will touch your heart and
make you weep."
Review By Joan Reeves
Set against the glamorous
golden age of Hollywood, NISEI is a sweeping story of a
forbidden love that will not be denied.
Fans of old movies will adore
the movie stars and celebrities of yesteryear--Carole
Lombard, Clark Gable, Norma Shearer, Marian Davies, Bogey,
Damon Runyon, et al--who unexpectedly pop up as the story
progresses. Admirers of the ageless popular music of
Gershwin and Cole Porter among others will be charmed by
the song verses that introduce each chapter.
From the dramatic opening scene
involving a farmer's death, small town Texas girl Dianne
Castle learns immediately of the discrimination suffered
by Japanese immigrants called Isei and their children,
first generation Americans called Nisei, at the hands of
As she witnesses the cold
cruelty of the farmer's neighbors, she's puzzled and
curious about the situation. Her curiosity increases when
handsome Los Angeles nightclub owner Johnny Honda is
summoned by the Japanese family for advice and guidance.
Dianne is strongly attracted to
the dynamic Japanese American business man, but he doesn't
seem to return that attraction. Their paths continue to
cross as Dianne, now employed by the newspaper, begins to
date the paper's star writer. Frequent evenings at Honda's
nightclub feed her infatuation which gradually deepens to
When Johnny Honda is attacked
and beaten by a group of white men, practically on her
doorstep, Dianne ends up with an unexpected patient and
houseguest. One night, she offers her love and her
innocence, and their lives are changed forever.
In a time when it was against
the law for a Japanese immigrant to own property or for a
Japanese to marry a white, Johnny and Dianne have little
assurance of a happy ever after. When they finally give
in to their love and marry out of state, Pearl Harbor is
a nightmare only hours away.
From its beginning in 1937 to
its end in 1955, Nisei takes you through the hearts and
lives of two people who brave the worst the world has to
throw at them. From the glamorous facade of old Los
Angeles to the primitive conditions at the Japanese
internment camp Manzanar, NISEI is a story of love
NISEI is that most unusual
offering in today's world of books--a historical set in
this century. It is the kind of book that you think about
afterward. Dianne and Johnny make you want to know more
about them than is found in the book. They grip your
imagination and stay with you. Their story will touch
your heart and make you weep.
Just as NISEI is a book to
remember so is its author Cheryl Bolen. It comes as no
surprise that she was named Notable New Author for 1998
for her first novel A DUKE DECEIVED (Harlequin Historical,
March 1998). Make note of the name Cheryl Bolen. You'll
be hearing from her again--and you'll be glad when you do.