The Diplomat's Daughter
During the turbulent months following the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, twenty-one-year-old Emi Kato, the daughter of a Japanese diplomat, is locked behind barbed wire in a Texas internment camp. She feels hopeless until she meets handsome young Christian Lange, whose German-born parents were wrongfully arrested for un-American activities. Together, they live as prisoners with thousands of other German and Japanese families, but discover that love can bloom in even the bleakest circumstances.When Emi and her mother are abruptly sent back to Japan, Christian enlists in the US Army, with his sights set on the Pacific front—and, he hopes, a reunion with Emi—unaware that her first love, Leo Hartmann, the son of wealthy of Austrian parents and now a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, may still have her heart.Fearful of bombings in Tokyo, Emi’s parents send her to a remote resort town in the mountains, where many in the foreign community have fled. Cut off from her family, struggling with growing depression and hunger, Emi repeatedly risks her life to help keep her community safe—all while wondering if the two men she loves are still alive.As Christian Lange struggles to adapt to life as a soldier, his unit pushes its way from the South Pacific to Okinawa, where one of the bloodiest battles of World War II awaits them. Meanwhile, in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, as Leo fights to survive the squalor of the Jewish ghetto, a surprise confrontation with a Nazi officer threatens his life. For each man, Emi Kato is never far from their minds. Flung together by war, passion, and extraordinary acts of selflessness, the paths of these three remarkable young people will collide as the fighting on the Pacific front crescendos. With her “elegant and extremely gratifying” (USA Today) storytelling, Karin Tanabe paints a stunning portrait of a turning point in history.

The Diplomat's Daughter Details

TitleThe Diplomat's Daughter
Author
FormatPaperback
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherWashington Square Press
ISBN1501110470
ISBN-139781501110474
Number of pages464 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical, Fiction, War, World War II, Romance, Adult, Drama

The Diplomat's Daughter Review

  • Nadya
    April 24, 2017
    Karin Tanabe’s “The Diplomat’s Daughter,” outwardly a meditation on love in a time of war, pushes boundaries to reveal a sensitive exploration of three young adults forced into confronting the fragility of a world where, as Yeats once so aptly noted, “the center cannot hold.” Through Emi Kato, the novel’s heroine (and eponymous diplomat’s daughter), we are introduced to separate, but equally harrowing, representations of the decaying human condition: Anti-Semitic Austria, American internment cam Karin Tanabe’s “The Diplomat’s Daughter,” outwardly a meditation on love in a time of war, pushes boundaries to reveal a sensitive exploration of three young adults forced into confronting the fragility of a world where, as Yeats once so aptly noted, “the center cannot hold.” Through Emi Kato, the novel’s heroine (and eponymous diplomat’s daughter), we are introduced to separate, but equally harrowing, representations of the decaying human condition: Anti-Semitic Austria, American internment camps, squalid Shanghai ghettos, austerity and starvation in war-time Japan, and the blood stained South Pacific front lines. The breadth of the novel is enormous, and yet Tanabe is able to gather each thread with a deftness that provides an incredibly satisfying experience for those who like their historical fiction to be cinematically epic. While there are no shortage of books revolving around WWII, “The Diplomat’s Daughter,” differs in that it offers a chance to delve into lesser known atrocities of the era. I was particularly moved by the depiction of Shanghai, where Leo Hartmann, Emi’s childhood sweetheart, finds himself struggling to survive with his family after fleeing Nazi Austria. Tanabe show us that while Leo avoids certain death due to the benevolence of the Japanese, he is still marginalized by their alliance with the Axis powers, and that his Chinese neighbors suffer even more. It’s this kind of “give with one hand, take from the other” observation that makes the novel so powerful. Tanabe has a knack for illustrating the contradictory grey areas that come from the political clashing with the human. If you are familiar with, and enjoyed, Karin Tanabe’s previous foray into historical fiction, “The Gilded Years,” then you will very much enjoy “The Diplomat’s Daughter.” Her usual eye for detail remains keen, and her vivid characterizations unparalleled. *This review was based on an advance copy of the novel.
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  • Fran Soto
    June 20, 2017
    I won this book a giveaway. That being said. I appreciate stories, which bring lesser known facts, but this story is very flat. There is nothing engrossing about it. Historical facts are stated instead of being presented in action. The story of two young people falling in love is more appropriate for YA audience, including some of the dialogue and descriptions.
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  • Lucy-May
    June 20, 2017
    This is my favourite read of this year so far & will probably remain my favourite by the time the year ends. I adored everything about this story & its characters & I cannot wait to write my full length review on my blog.The Diplomat's Daughter is in part a story of love, but is also a story of hope, tragedy & survival. I read scenes unlike any other I've read before & also learnt things about the war that I did not know before. This book is beautiful in every way & Karin This is my favourite read of this year so far & will probably remain my favourite by the time the year ends. I adored everything about this story & its characters & I cannot wait to write my full length review on my blog.The Diplomat's Daughter is in part a story of love, but is also a story of hope, tragedy & survival. I read scenes unlike any other I've read before & also learnt things about the war that I did not know before. This book is beautiful in every way & Karin Tanabe has done an incredible job with it. I was given an advanced copy of this book to review & I cannot say how glad I am that I was.See my full review here: https://writingwolves.wordpress.com/2...
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  • Ellen
    April 4, 2017
    Emi Kato is the daughter of a Japanese diplomat, moving around the world with her family. Unfortunately, she is caught up in America and sent to an internment camp with her mother. Prior to her American posting, Emi and her family are in Vienna, during the late 1930's, where she falls in love with Leo, a young Jewish man. While in the internment camp, Emi meets Christian, a German-American who also ends up interned when his parents are falsely accused of being pro-Nazi. The story is much more th Emi Kato is the daughter of a Japanese diplomat, moving around the world with her family. Unfortunately, she is caught up in America and sent to an internment camp with her mother. Prior to her American posting, Emi and her family are in Vienna, during the late 1930's, where she falls in love with Leo, a young Jewish man. While in the internment camp, Emi meets Christian, a German-American who also ends up interned when his parents are falsely accused of being pro-Nazi. The story is much more than a romance - the vivid scenes capture life in the internment camps, in Shanghai when Leo and his family escape from Vienna, in the US army fight against Japan, and in Japan where starvation leads to extreme actions. A good read, with lessons to be learned for the political scene we find ourselves in today.
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  • Dorie
    June 20, 2017
    I would actually rate this book a 3.5 if I could.I love historical fiction and have read many books about WWII but this book promised a different aspect of the war that I hadn’t heard about. The author’s note at the beginning of the book states “My Japanese father was three years old when the firebombing of Tokyo and Yokohama occurred in May of 1945. . . . .his first memory was seeing his city on fire. My uncle who was ten remembered more including the swishing sound the napalm made as it hit th I would actually rate this book a 3.5 if I could.I love historical fiction and have read many books about WWII but this book promised a different aspect of the war that I hadn’t heard about. The author’s note at the beginning of the book states “My Japanese father was three years old when the firebombing of Tokyo and Yokohama occurred in May of 1945. . . . .his first memory was seeing his city on fire. My uncle who was ten remembered more including the swishing sound the napalm made as it hit the water and the children screaming “it hurts, it hurts”. “My understanding of the war all started with my father being attacked by American bombs.” Regarding the internment camps, “I discovered that in fact more than 11,000 German-Americans were interned, many having been held alongside the Japanese in a family camp in Crystal City, Texas”. From this and all of her research and writer’s gift of imagination grew the story of the three main protagonists in this book.Emo Kato is the Diplomat’s daughter who traveled extensively with her parents and was used to a very special kind of life, a life of privilege and comfort. They are made to flee Vienna and go to Washington when Hitler’s army invades Vienna. While in Vienna however Emo meets Leo Hartmann, who attends the same school, he is the son of an Austrian-Jewish banker and Emo and Leo share a young romance enhanced by their love of music and Emo’s expertise in playing their priceless, hand painted Steinway. With the rise of anti-Semitism throughout Europe the Hartmann’s are also made to flee for their lives.With the Japanese involvement in the war the internment of the Japanese in the U.S. begins. Even the diplomats are not above reproach although they are given somewhat more preferential treatment. In the internment camp Emo meets Christian Lange, the son of a German born steel baron from Wisconsin. A man had falsely accused Mr. Lange of some traitorous actions with the Germans, though we are never really told what that is. Christian was at the hospital visiting his mother who had suffered a tragic loss and met Emo who was working as a nurse’s aid. By this time Emo is a bit older and she and Christian fall in love and have a bit of a romantic involvement for the brief time that they are together. I will be honest here in stating that the romantic encounters in this book I felt to be somewhat weak and at times silly, perhaps it was because the main characters were so young. I felt that the parents of the youth were not particularly well described and it was hard to get a feel for what their family life really was like. It was interesting to learn that there were others besides Japanese in the internment camps, Germans and also Italians were interned. I also had no idea that some Jewish people fled to Shanghai and that it was a refuge during the war. It appears that it was only the people with some financial means that were able to flee there.In 1943 the US ordered 1,340 people to be deported to Germany and Japan to trade for “Americans that the government cared for, that they wanted returned safely: missionaries, teachers, journalists and some POW’s”. Japanese-Americans and German-Americans would go in their places. The ship also stopped in Brazil and other ports to pick up additional passengers who were being traded, the reader never really gets any information about how these people were chosen and why they were being deported.In the end I felt that I had lots of unanswered questions, things that were touched upon and then never really revealed. What happened to the homes and property of those interned? How does Christian find Emo after the war? How were the people chosen who were to be traded for other Americans? When the passengers were allowed off of the ship in Brazil, why did no one attempt to flee? I felt the story was a little disjointed, focusing a lot on the young romances with facts about the war woven in. There is some good writing here for sure and I will look forward to Ms. Tanabe’s next novel. I was provided an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Annette
    June 9, 2017
    This story brings lesser known aspects of WWII of German/Japanese internment camp in Crystal City in South Texas; of the FBI right to search any house of German descent since US was at war with Germany. And that’s what happens to Christian’s prominent family. Their house is searched and they are sent to the camp, where he meets Emi, daughter of Japanese diplomat.The story goes back in time to 1937 Vienna, when Emi’s and Leo’s story is revealed. It touches upon the brewing anti-Semitic movement b This story brings lesser known aspects of WWII of German/Japanese internment camp in Crystal City in South Texas; of the FBI right to search any house of German descent since US was at war with Germany. And that’s what happens to Christian’s prominent family. Their house is searched and they are sent to the camp, where he meets Emi, daughter of Japanese diplomat.The story goes back in time to 1937 Vienna, when Emi’s and Leo’s story is revealed. It touches upon the brewing anti-Semitic movement before WWII. Leo comes from prominent Jewish family. And how some Jews obtained visas to enter Shanghai under Japanese control at the time.Once in China, the life of Jewish family is presented. It’s not easy as Leo is chased by other boys and called names, but at least he feels there safe. I appreciate stories, which bring lesser known facts, but this story is very flat. There is nothing engrossing about it. Historical facts are stated instead of being presented in action. The story of two young people falling in love is more appropriate for YA audience, including some of the dialogue and descriptions.
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  • Jessica Macaulay
    June 27, 2017
    Hope, war, tragedy, love… what more could you hope for in a work of historical fiction? I was absolutely enamoured by The Diplomat’s Daughter, Tanabe’s attention to detail, and the depiction of the events that are too often left out of capital H ‘History’. Beautiful and heart wrenching the narrative seamlessly blends geographically disparate settings, multiple viewpoints, and raw emotion in a way that brings the story to life and stokes the fires of the imagination.Ultimately though, the Diploma Hope, war, tragedy, love… what more could you hope for in a work of historical fiction? I was absolutely enamoured by The Diplomat’s Daughter, Tanabe’s attention to detail, and the depiction of the events that are too often left out of capital H ‘History’. Beautiful and heart wrenching the narrative seamlessly blends geographically disparate settings, multiple viewpoints, and raw emotion in a way that brings the story to life and stokes the fires of the imagination.Ultimately though, the Diplomat’s Daughter is a touching and emotional exploration of what it means to be human, to make moral choices even if they run against the dominant ideology, and what it means to love in a time of war. I believed every moment, every emotion, and found myself constantly rooting for these three underdogs. Any crying… lets not forget the crying, but I do love a book that gets me right in the feels.
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  • nikkia neil
    July 2, 2017
    Tghabks Atria Books and netgalley for this ARC.We travel from the US to Japan with Emi. Emi will win you to hear side with honesty, humor, and a candidness that makes her a unforgeable heroine. The journey thru life is celebrated in this novel. It's not always peaches and cream- and that makes this novel tart and enduring.
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  • Haley Zuker
    June 29, 2017
    Reminded me a little of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, but less YA. One of my favorite reads of the year, so far.
  • Elaine March
    June 25, 2017
    Bravo to the author for writing a fresh WWII story. Not an easy feat.
  • Lynn
    April 3, 2017
    Japanese were not the only internees during WWII in America. Oh, no. In the camps were also Germans, ranking Embassy staff, and Nazis. Yes, Nazis. This is the story of Emi Kato whose father works for the Japanese consulate in Germany, Leo, son of Austrian Jews, and Christian, an American whose parents are German. A great novel that puts the reader squarely into the horrors of war on all fronts.I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Washington Square Press. pub date 07/11/17
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  • SS
    April 8, 2017
    I received a copy of this book through netgalley. I thank them, the publisher, and the author for making this book available. My opinions on this book are given freely and not influenced by the receipt of this book.The story of the Diplomat’s Daughter revolves around three families, The Katos from Japan, the Hartmanns from Austria, and the Langes from the United States. Norio Kato is a Japanese diplomat who travels the world with his family in service to his country. Those travels bring his daug I received a copy of this book through netgalley. I thank them, the publisher, and the author for making this book available. My opinions on this book are given freely and not influenced by the receipt of this book.The story of the Diplomat’s Daughter revolves around three families, The Katos from Japan, the Hartmanns from Austria, and the Langes from the United States. Norio Kato is a Japanese diplomat who travels the world with his family in service to his country. Those travels bring his daughter into contact with the other families, primarily the sons of those families, Leo and Christian. There are elements of romance and a bit of promiscuity among these young people, but the true tale in the book is one of survival and perseverance in the face of hate and deprivation.I loved the beginning of this book, when it did a good job of illustrating the horror of the pre-war years in Vienna and the cruelty the United States showed to honest, hardworking, and loyal residents. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the book took a turn toward soap opera. Things became overly contrived and melodramatic. Characters became stupid and whiny. I wanted to reach into the words and shake them. In the early parts of the book, I thought Leo was a wonderful, intelligent, kind young man. Later, he just turns stupid, and it costs him. Looking back from the end of the book, I’m not exactly sure why he and his family were included in the story. Their involvement does help to show Norio Kato as a good and helpful man, and it allows the author to show the horrors of pre-war Vienna and the deplorable, but mostly safe for Jews, conditions in Shanghai during the war, but other than that, there’s little cause for them to take up space. I will add that I thought that both Leo’s and Christian’s mothers were selfish, self-involved women, Helene more so than Hani. His mother needed him, she told him constantly. I mean who writes to their son, who is fighting in a war, and tells him that if he is killed, she’s going to throw herself into a river?There’s so much in this book that isn’t explained, like why ethnic Japanese citizens and legal residents of South American countries wound up in internment camps in the United States, or why ships carrying deportees from the US would stop in Brazil to pick up additional passengers who were long-time citizens and legal residents of that country. Some background on that would have been helpful in understanding the book better. Beyond those questions, what bothers me the most is all the questions I’ve been left with after completing this book, from the frivolous to the important, in no particular order:Did anything in the Vienna apartment survive?Did the Hartmann’s chauffeur survive?What happened to the Lange house, factory, and money? Are they ever returned to Christian? He would be the rightful owner.Does the man who falsely reported the Langes and took over their properties receive any punishment for having done so?Why did John Sasaki embellish Norio's letter to Emi when he translated it for Christian?After the war ends, how does Christian know where to find Emi?Those are just some of the questions that are left hanging at the end of the book, which makes me wonder if the author plans a sequel.All is not for naught. There are moments of prosaic brilliance in this tome. It was the year that the world started melting at the edges, tolerance seeping through the cracks, unable to be saved. Instead of the exhaustion and dread that were caked onto Christian’s face, they appeared buoyed by the glamour of the uniform, the heroics of war, perhaps even the probable death that was looming for them. Sadly, there were also a ton of silly errors, like the crew of a ship handing out chocolate just as they’re hitting rough waters. Why would they do that when they tell the people that they’d intended to give the chocolate out at the mid-point of a two month voyage? And worse, they tell the people not to eat the chocolate because of the turbulent seas? People who have had little to eat for months in internment. Or allowing women to swim in pools without swim caps, something that wouldn’t have been allowed as pool pumps would have been destroyed by caught hairs. Swim caps were required in pools up into the 1980s! Repeatedly, the issue of mail comes up, how Emi, Leo, and Christian talk about sending mail between the warring nations. Why would anyone think that was a possibility? Yet the book belabors that issue, even going to the point of suggesting that it would be possible to send mail through embassies of their own countries or those of friendly countries. It’s very unrealistic. Also, I would have liked some explanation of how the things that happened to the Langes happened. What legal course was in place that would allow thing like that to happen? And since Christian was a native born US citizen and almost of age, why did he need to join his parents in the internment camp and face deportation? It’s irritating to have to go do my own research when that information should be included in the book. It doesn’t take much, just a paragraph or two to fill in the blanks and keep the reader for having these questions float around in their minds, pulling them out of the reading. Mostly, overall, the author should have done more research to make sure all of her facts were accurate and made sure that the reader had enough information to understand how things worked and why they were important. When reading a novel, I shouldn't need to go away from it to investigate on my own. Novels are meant for entertainment; they're not a research project.One other thing that irked me, and may very well fall to the lack of research by the author, is that not only were Japanese and Germans interned during WWII. Italians were as well, yet I think there was only one very brief mention of them. I can understand why the author may not have wanted to go into detail about a whole other nationality of people interned, but I would think that would have been worthwhile if she at least spent a few paragraphs dealing with the enormity of the problem. I do recommend checking out Lisa Scottoline's book that deals with this, Killer Smile. It's a novel, but it delves into the history of this segment of America's shameful history of interning people, even native born people, because of the actions of those far away. We really need to learn a lesson from this to prevent it from happening again.While I enjoyed reading this book, and loved Emiko, her spunk and caring nature, and her parents, I’m disappointed with how things progressed and ended. I did read an advanced copy of the book, so there is the final editing process repaired many of these errors. I hope so.
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  • Zara Garcia-Alvarez of The Bibliotaphe Closet Blog
    May 9, 2017
    Blog post due: July 4, 2017
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