Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Earthquake Doll / Candace Williams

This is the second half of a doubleshot. If you missed it, check out this morning's post for BigAl's thoughts on the same book.

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Coming of Age

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Candace Williams lives with her husband and beloved rescued Iggys (Italian Greyhounds)in Texas. Her first novel, The Earthquake Doll, was inspired by her early experiences in post-war Japan while her father was serving in the Korean Conflict.”


“The gap between the old Japan and the new is never so wide as when it tears open a young girl’s heart… It's 1952 Japan, seven years since the war was lost to the Americans, seven years since Miyoko lost her father and the home of her birth. Now she must earn a living caring for the children of an American family at the nearby air base.

When tragedy strikes, sixteen-year-old Miyoko is ordered to obey her family's wishes or disgrace the memory of her father and bring hardship upon her family. Tradition says she must obey, but her secret heart whispers that the new laws can free her.

As the earth trembles and splits beneath her, Miyoko must jump forward—or back.”


This story is told through Miyoko's eyes as she struggles with profound cultural changes that no doubt swept through Japanese society after World War II. The philosophical and physiological affect on Japanese women struggling between traditional values and the modern freedoms brought in from the west was exemplified through Miyoko's story.

The characters were well defined and the situations were believable. It was educational to see Japanese culture through Japanese eyes. We have all heard about how respected honor is to the Japanese people, but I doubt many understand the depths of the word as far as this society is concerned. I know I had to sit back to take it all in.

This is a wonderful story and I feel enlightened having read it. The lessons Miyoko learned are as complex as her history and are summed up in these two quotes. “Obedience without choice is not honorable. It is merely survival, without grace or joy.”  and “ survive one must be able to bend without breaking.” The story is how she came to realize these truths. The plot moves at a good pace as Miyoko struggles with her dilemma of how to keep harmony with her family, friends, and most of all her own secret heart.  Outstanding job for a debut novel, Ms. Williams. 


Ms. Williams has included a glossary of Japanese terms and family relations at the beginning of the book. I was a bit overwhelmed seeing these worrying I wouldn't be able to follow, but the author made it easy, it was a needless concern. My insecurities always jump to the forefront of my brain. I need to work on that.

Format/Typo Issues:

Nothing at all jumped out at me with editing or formatting.

Rating: ***** Five stars      


Candace said...

Thank you for this review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. FYI, the publisher thought it would be best to have the glossary at the front of the book (ebook version only,) but now they're going to move it to the back after book club readers' comments about being daunted when confronted with all the foreign words from practically the first page. Personally, I didn't want a glossary because I had defined each word when it first came up (such as, "wooden geta shoes." I had to remove all of those references, so now, a glossary really is necessary! ;)

?wazithinkin said...

You are welcome, I am glad BigAl pushed me out of my comfort zone by asking me if I would like to do a Doubleshot with him.

I thought you handled the foreign words well and rarely looked at the glossary while reading the story. It was daunting to see it at the beginning and I am glad to hear the publisher agreed to move it. I could see it scaring some readers away.

Thank you for dropping in and commenting, Ms. Williams.