discrimination in america
On Colorado's High Plains, Greenwood County's Mexican, Japanese, and Anglo enclaves coexist in an uneasy truce, until Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Decades before talk of building a great wall on the southern border or registering Muslims, Greenwood is split apart. A sign appears in the barbershop window: “Japs Shaved Free-Not Responsible for Accidents-$0.25 for a Jap ear.”
Art and Martha Lundgren, numbed by grief after their infant daughter’s death, surmount personal loss to covertly assist Japanese on neighboring farms who struggle with travel and financial restrictions. In the face of wartime labor and equipment shortages, they hire members of the Marquez family. Martha’s friend, a navy nurse in Manila, and Marquez cousins on Bataan and Corregidor are among the missing.
When construction begins on nearby Camp Amache, an internment site for thousands of Japanese forcibly relocated from the West Coast, Greenwood’s Japanese Farmers’ Association donates its abandoned schoolhouse to the VFW hoping to assuage the hate.
The sheriff discovers a naval map of the Pacific in an old desk, and the FBI turns it over to Congressman Dies. His Un-American Activities Committee uses it as proof of Japanese belligerency before Pearl Harbor, which implicates Martha's friends.
She confronts the racial hostility and investigates the suspected confinement of former Greenwood residents at Amache, threatening her family’s reputation, and her life.
"As a Japanese American native of Colorado, I am delighted with the accuracy of Purvis-Smith's novel...As you travel through it, you can sense the depth of the emotions of people living in such perilous and frightening experiences of rejection, even though they had learned to be Americains.