It had to be You (A World War Two Romance) by Cheryl Bolen
It Had To Be You (A World War Two Romance)
By Cheryl Bolen
Set in Los Angeles in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s, with a cast of characters from writers, newspaper people and nightclub owners showcasing the grandeur that was Los Angeles at the time. Our fictional characters interact comfortably in believable settings with some of the most famous and well know authors, actors, producers and singers of the day. This story of Johnny Honda and Dianne Castle and their love that transcended race, social class and lasted through a war is brilliantly back lit by all this glamour.
William Randolph Hearst and his long time mistress, Marion Davies, are frequent characters in the early part of the book, before the war, before the internment camps. As were Clark Gable, his wife, Humphrey Bogart, and many others. It was a life filled with glitz and glamour for a young Dianne just up from Texas. She was pulled into it by Andrew Harriman, a columnist for the paper she wanted to work for; he liked her and enjoyed taking her around to all the parties and nightclubs.
She had been leaving LA, to go look at a small apartment to share with another lady when she saw a plane crash. She helped the family that was affected by it, got a list of the passengers, called the owner of one of the nightclubs in LA, a very powerful Japanese American. She fell in love that day. Though it took over 4 years for Johnny to admit to his feelings, Andrew harbored feelings for Dianne and kept trying to get Johnny out of her mind and heart.
It was fascinating to this reviewer to look up a lot of the laws that had been passed against the Japanese in California and learn that from those laws it was an easy push to get the rest of the country behind putting them in internment camps inland and their lands and businesses confiscated by the white American’s, especially after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
The conditions in the internment camps were horrendous; overcrowding, lack of medical personal, lack of food in some cases, badly built huts that let in all kinds of weather, plus the fact that second and third generation American citizens were denied basic rights they were born into. Then the only way out was the Loyalty oath they had to sign, forswearing all loyalty to the Japanese emperor most of them had no knowledge of, and the fact they would fight in the war for America; when just a few years before they had been denied the right to join the Armed Forces based on their race.
This was an epic love story that was so much more. If you really enjoy learning about history and like the by-gone era of early Hollywood this is a book you would love. I give it a five star rating and highly recommend it. Thank you for sharing your talent to make the past come alive, Ms. Bolen, it was a wonderful trip.