The God’s of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein
One summer night in prewar Japan, eleven-year-old Billy Reynolds takes snapshots at his parent’s dinner party. That same evening his father Anton–a prominent American architect–begins a torrid affair with the wife of his master carpenter. A world away in New York, Cameron Richards rides a Ferris Wheel with his sweetheart and dreams about flying a plane. Though seemingly disparate moments, they will all draw together to shape the fate of a young girl caught in the midst of one of WWII’s most horrific events–the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.
Exquisitely-rendered, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the stories of families on both sides of the Pacific: their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses–and their shared connection to one of the most devastating acts of war in human history. (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)
The story is set during the years 1935-1962 and follows characters that are connected to each other.We meet a Czech architect and his son who will be a photographer, a Japanese architect and his wife and daughter, and American pilot who joins the war and leaves his newly married wife in America.
The book shows both sides in the war between US and Japan. I have never read a book about the war from Japanese point of view so that was interesting. We get a clear view how Japan changed from what it was before the war and what happened there.
At first it felt like there was lot of POV’s but it became fascinating to learn how all these people were connected to each other in some time in their lives. I especially enjoyed seeing Cam being a pilot during the bombings and how he felt about what was going to happen.
Often the chapters would jump years ahead but thankfully it was told in the beginning of new chapter that where we were and in what year. While it didn’t confuse me much, that would be my only complaint I have about the book. Sometimes there would be years between I wanted to know what happened during those years to some of the characters.
This was a great and emotional book and I’m so glad I read it. I’m looking forward reading more from this author!
Published: W.W. Norton & Company (2014)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
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About the author
Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two daughters and especially needy Springer Spaniel.