A trove of forgotten letters reveals a love that defied a world war.
In 1924, eight-year old Robert Campbell accompanies his missionary parents to Japan where he befriends a young Makiko Asakawa. Robert enjoys his life there, but the dark tides of war are rising, and it won’t be long before foreigners are forced to leave Japan. Torn from the people Robert has come to think of as family, he stays in contact by exchanging letters with Makiko, letters that soon show their relationship is blossoming into something much more than friendship. The outbreak of total war sweeps all before it, and when correspondence ends with no explanation, Robert fears the worst. He will do anything to find Makiko, even launch himself headfirst into a conflict that is consuming the world. Turmoil and tragedy threaten his every step, but no risk is too great to prove that love conquers all. Forgotten Letters is published by Honey Rock View Publishing and available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Audible
From a Dream, Comes a Novel…
The inspiration for “Forgotten Letters” came to me ten years ago in the form of a dream so vivid that I began to see it as the starting point for the story portrayed in Forgotten Letters. The dream began with an earthquake in the early 1900’s somewhere in Japan. My most vivid memory from the dream was not so much the destruction, which was devastating, but the strength and courage of the Japanese people in resurrecting their lives in the face of such tragedy.
Over the years, I have researched the many earthquakes that are a regular occurrence across the Japanese Islands. The “Great Kanto” of 1923 seemed to best mimic the earthquake from my dream, in particular the unstoppable fires that destroyed most of Tokyo and Yokohama. This is where my story begins.
Ironically, the two cities were again destroyed during World War II and, as they were after the “Great Kanto,” have been rebuilt by the dedicated, hard working people of that amazing country.
The story starts with Fumiko and Ichiro entering their recently deceased parent’s house. They enter the house with thoughts of childhood memories and what to do with the dilapidated home. Fumiko and Ichiro are both dealing with personal problems that seem to consume most of their thoughts as they wander through the house.
Ichiro finds a trapdoor to the attic and enters a dark and dusty area that has not been visited for years. They look around the room and see old furniture and trash. Ichiro pulls out a military footlocker with his father’s name printed on the outside. Ichiro states “This was Dads”. Ichiro has some difficulty opening the footlocker but is finally successful. Inside he finds an old World War II officer’s uniform and a precisely folded cream and red colored kimono.
Underneath the two garments they discover a box which is wrapped in red foil and secured with a white ribbon that is squashed flat. Fumiko and Ichiro look at each other thinking what secrets are in this special box. Ichiro unties the ribbon, unfolds the paper and removes the lid. Inside the box lie rows of letters, yellowed and stained. The letters are in random order the earliest postmark is 1931. The letters are correspondence between their parents. Fumiko opens a letter postmarked 1931 and reads aloud “Dear Robert”.
When you read Forgotten Letters, remember three words from the beginning of the book and then are revisited later on. I think the reader will smile when they read these words again. The three words are spider, baseball and birthmark.
My sincere hope is that you will find Forgotten Letters an enjoyable read.
Bio: Kirk Raeber is an emergency room physician. He has always had a strong interest in World War II history and especially in the war in the Pacific. He served in the US Navy and was stationed in Japan for one year. Forgotten Letters is his debut novel. He lives in California with his wife and three Anatolian Shepherds. If you’d like to know more about Kirk and his books, you can visit his website: http://www.theforgottenletters.com, and/or follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Forgotten-Letters-814455975239863/ and Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkirkraeber