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Garden of Stones

Cover of Garden of Stones

Garden of Stones

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In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice

Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up--along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans--and taken to the Manzanar prison camp.

Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever...and spur her to sins of her own.

Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield weaves a powerful tale of stolen innocence and survival that echoes through generations, reverberating between mothers and daughters. It is a moving chronicle of injustice, triumph and the unspeakable acts we commit in the name of love.


In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice

Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up--along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans--and taken to the Manzanar prison camp.

Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever...and spur her to sins of her own.

Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield weaves a powerful tale of stolen innocence and survival that echoes through generations, reverberating between mothers and daughters. It is a moving chronicle of injustice, triumph and the unspeakable acts we commit in the name of love.
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    San Francisco
    Tuesday, June 6, 1978


    Reg Forrest lowered himself painfully into his desk chair, which was as hard, used and creaky as he was. The dark brown leather was cracked and worn, the brass nails missing in places. When he found the chair in the alley, he thought it had a certain masculine appeal, like something a hotshot lawyer might own. But it hadn't taken long for the thing to seem as shoddy as the rest of his office.

    Reg flipped the corners of the stack of papers on his desk and sighed. The coffee wouldn't be ready for a few minutes yet.

    Dust motes swirled in the first rays of morning sunlight, causing Reg to blink and then to sneeze. He had positioned his desk under the only window in the room, a filthy pane of glass at ceiling level that looked out into a corrugatedaluminum well half-filled with garbage and dead leaves.

    Above the window well was the same alley where he'd found the chair, a narrow, stinking passage between the DeSoto Hotel and the building next door. Still, early in the morning, depending on the season, an errant sunbeam or two found its way down into the room, and for that small grace, Reg occasionally remembered to be grateful.

    Beyond the office door, there was silence. The gym opened at seven, which was still a half hour away. He'd already unlocked the doors, but the half-dozen men who'd gather by seven would wait for him to come prop them open. They knew each other's habits. Early morning drew the shift workers, the boys getting in a few rounds on the bag after clocking out. Night security, deliverymen, dockworkers--they were quieter, as a rule, than the ones who came later. Other than the occasional grunt or curse, they had little to say as they worked through their circuits.

    It had been several years since Reg himself had taken to the practice ring. He'd broken the same hand three times, and his shoulder was never right anymore. The ligaments in his back were for shit, and there was a scar like a zipper running over his left knee. He was fifty-nine years old and he'd spent three of his six decades here, in the basement of the DeSoto Hotel, building Reg's Gym up from nothing. Reg had paid in rough coin, but he wasn't complaining; the sounds and smells of this place were all he knew anymore, and if he spent more of his time locked up in this office with a calculator than on the floor these days, he supposed that was all right. A man slows down, in time.

    A knock at the door. Raphael, his day manager, sometimes came in early and drank a cup of coffee with him. On days like this, when his aches and pains were more troublesome than usual, Reg could do without the conversation--at least until he'd had a chance to work the kinks out of his joints and was feeling more sociable. The only reason he came in to work this early was his insomnia: often stark-awake by three or four, Reg had nowhere else to go. "Yeah. Come in."

    He didn't turn. The only sound was the gurgling of the coffeepot. Reg squinted at the sheet on top of the stack and wondered if he needed to go to the eye doctor again. What had it been, two years, three, and it seemed like they were printing everything smaller all the time.

    "Hey, Raphael, look at this invoice, will you, I can't make out the damn numbers--"

    He jerked with surprise when warm hands covered his eyes. For a moment he was frozen, remembering the way his sister used to sneak up on him, half a century ago. She loved to put her small hands over his eyes and make him guess, little skinny Martha who died of scarlet fever before her seventh birthday; he hadn't thought of her in years. The hands pushed gently, tilting his...

About the Author-
  • Sophie Littlefield grew up in rural Missouri and attended college in Indiana. She worked in technology before having children, and was lucky enough to stay home with them while they were growing up. She writes novels for kids and adults, and lives in Northern California. Visit her online at www.SophieLittlefield.com.

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