It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers are growing up with their loving grandparents, who inspire them to dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows unusual skill at the national obsession of sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of creating hard-carved masks for actors in the Noh theater.
Across town, a renowned sumo master, Sho Tanaka, lives with his wife and their two young daughters: the delicate, daydreaming Aki and her independent sister, Haru. Life seems full of promise as Kenji begins an informal apprenticeship with the most famous mask-maker in Japan and Hiroshi receives a coveted invitation to train with Tanaka. But then Pearl Harbor changes everything. As the ripples of war spread to both families' quiet neighborhoods, all of the generations must put their dreams on hold---and then find their way in a new Japan.
In an exquisitely moving story that spans almost thirty years, Gail Tsukiyama draws us irresistibly into the world of the brothers and the women who love them. It is a world of tradition and change, of heartbreaking loss and surprising hope, and of the impact of events beyond their control on ordinary, decent men and women. Above all, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms is a masterpiece about love and family from a glorious storyteller at the height of her powers.
Gail Tsukiyama is the bestselling author of five previous novels, including Women of the Silk and The Samurai's Garden, as well as a recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. She divides her time between El Cerrito and Napa Valley, California.
Bristling with intrigue and erotic rivalries, the palace is home to three thousand women and only one man - the young shogun. Sachi, a beautiful fifteen-year-old girl, is chosen to be his concubine.
But Japan is changing, and as civil war erupts, Sachi flees for her life. Rescued by a rebel warrior, she finds unknown feelings stirring within her; but this is a world in which private passions have no place and there is not even a word for 'love'.
Before she dare dream of a life with him, Sachi must uncover the secret of her own origins - a secret that encompasses a wrong so terrible that it threatens to destroy her ....
In 1913, young Irish emigrant Eva Downey is trapped in London with a remote father and hostile stepmother. When she is awarded a legacy from an old suffragette to attend a finishing school in Kent, she jumps at the chance. At the school, she finds kinship and later falls in love with her teacher Christopher Shandlin, her intellectual equal.
But when war does break out, her fanatical and disapproving stepsister Grace forces a choice on Eva. She must present Shandlin, who refuses to fight, with a white feather of cowardice, or no money will be given for her sister Imelda’s life-saving treatment in Switzerland. Caught in a dilemma, she chooses her sister over her lover, a decision which will have irrevocable consequences for both her and Christopher and haunt her for the rest of her life.
A new and kinder age is dawning - a time for healing wounds - but more uncertainty, conflict and sorrow await both Ralph and Annunciata before they can find peace and forgiveness.
Paul, great-grandsom of Elanor Morland, has inherited the Morland estates, and his own Amyas is set to be his heir. But Paul fathers a beloved illigitimate son, and bitter jealousy causes a destructive rift between the two half-brothers which will lead to death. Paul's niece, Nanette, becomes a maid-in-waiting to Anne Bolyen, and at the court of Henry VIII she becomes embroiled in the King's bitter feud with Rome.
Through birth and death, love and hatred, triumph and heartbreak, the Morlands continue proudly to claim their place amongst England's aristocracy.