Skip to main content

Review: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment, by Jennifer Cody Epstein


Pages: 378
Original date of publication: 2013
My copy: 2013 (Norton)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Amazon Vine program, March 2013

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is set during WWII, and specifically focuses on the American firebombing of Tokyo in 1942 and 1945. We are introduced to Yoshi Kobayashi, the daughter of an expansionist; Cam, a bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Japanese; and Anton, an American architect, who had helped build some of Tokyo’s modern buildings in the 1920s and ‘30s but is enlisted to build test structures for the American air force to practice.

Epstein has chosen an event that rarely gets written about in fiction, yet caused so much devastation at the same time; in the Operation Meetinghouse attack of 1945, 16 square miles of Tokyo were destroyed, approximately 100,000 people were killed, and over a million lost their homes. It was the deadliest air raid of WWII. So I was very interested to read about this lesser-known period of history and witness it through the eyes of these characters—especially Yoshi, who finds herself directly impacted by the 1945 raid. Jennifer Cody Epstein writes beautifully, and her description of what happens to these characters is riveting.


Comments

Marg said…
I have this book to review soon, and now, having read your thoughts I anm looking forward to it even more!
Anna said…
Glad to see you liked it. I'll be reading it soon, and am looking forward to it since I loved The Painter From Shanghai so much.

Popular posts from this blog

The Sunday Salon

What a crazy week this has been! My cousin, who’s ten, was in town for most of this past week, and since he’s high energy, it’s taken a lot of energy especially out of my mom, who also had to deal with my 87-year-old grandmother. Plus. my sister was in town for the weekend, so it’s been mostly crazy around here. All of my posts this past week have been scheduled; and I only got around to writing a bunch of outstanding reviews yesterday afternoon. It’s quieter here now that my mom has driven my sister back to New York, and I’ve spent much of today catching up on sleep and, of course, reading. Right now I’m reading one of my Virago Modern Classics: The Rising Tide, by Molly Keane (though it was originally published under her pseudonym MJ Farrell). I’m really loving it; the author really knew how to combine wonderful (sometimes exasperating) characters with a great plot. I’ve been cruising Ebay for more books by Molly Keane, since I’m living her writing style. This is easily one of the b…

Review: The Tudor Secret, by CW Gortner

Pages: 327Original date of publication:My edition: 2011 (St. Martin’s)Why I decided to read: Heard about this through Amazon.comHow I acquired my copy: Amazon Vine, December 2010Originally published as The Secret Lion, The Tudor Secret is the first in what will be a series featuring Brendan Prescott, an orphan foundling who was raised in the household of the Dudley family. In 1553, King Edward is on his deathbed, and William Cecil gives a secret mission Brendan. Soon he finds himself working as a double agent, as he attempts to discover the secret of his own birth.There ‘s a lot to like in this novel, mainly in the historical details that the author weaves into the story. He knows Tudor history like the back of his hand, and it definitely shows in this book. Because it was his first novel, however, there are some rough patches. There were a couple of plot holes that I had trouble navigating around—primarily, why would a secretive man such as Cecil entrust a seemingly nobody with this …

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…