A Tale of Triumph
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In 1944, as World War II rages on overseas, a feeling of defeat looms over eighteen-year old Yasu Sakamoto. Three years of her young life have wasted away in a Japanese internment camp in eastern California. Imprisoned by barbwire and military guards, she yearns for her freedom and lifelong dreams waiting for her beyond the fence. In this skillfully woven coming-of-age story, Yasu continues her journey that began in Diane Dettmann’s book, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. In Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph, Diane carries readers into the next phase of Yasu Sakamoto’s life. Bombarded with barriers of discrimination and prejudice, Yasu realizes— like the barbwire fences—there will always be obstacles in her life that take courage, determination and sometimes the support of others to overcome. With a keen sense for detail, award-winning author Diane Dettmann skillfully draws readers into an engaging story about an unexpected friendship that develops between Yasu Sakamoto and Martha Annala, a university professor. When they first meet on a train headed to Minneapolis, Yasu is afraid to trust Martha with any information about her past and lies about her identity to protect herself and her family. Alone and with no place to go, Yasu eventually tells Martha about leaving her home in Glenville and the three years she was imprisoned in the internment camp. Martha feels Yasu’s pain and opens her heart and home to her. As the war intensifies anti-Japanese attitudes escalate in America and the hostility runs rampant. Martha’s decision to befriend Yasu ultimately creates hardships and challenges in her own life. Relationships with university colleagues become strained, but Martha remains committed to her friendship with Yasu. Negative looks and anti-Japanese comments surround Yasu wherever she goes. She wishes everything would go back to the way it was before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She deeply misses her parents, her brother, Haro, and their loving German shepherd and longs to return to her home in Glenville, California. Eventually Yasu realizes she can’t repair her broken dreams and her only option is to build new ones and keep moving forward. With courage, the support of others and perseverance she finds a new path in life. Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph is an informative and inspirational historical novel. A captivating and timeless story about overcoming hardships in life, surviving difficulties and the strength of the human spirit to persevere under the most adverse conditions. An engaging read for all ages relevant even today. “With the help of a mentor strong enough to stand with her against rabid anti-Japanese sentiments, Yasu perseveres to overcome and extricate herself from the terrible grip of fate.” —Beth L. Virtanen, Ph.D. President, Finnish North-American Literature Association