Silent Honor by Danielle Steel

Oriental-looking gold characters on red backgroundDanielle Steel’s Silent Honor is a romance played out during one of the ugliest episodes of American history: the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Hiroko Takashimaya’s father, a Japanese college professor, sends his 18-year-old daughter to study for one year in California. Hiroko has no desire to do anything other than be a good wife and mother, but she is a dutiful daughter and will do as her father wishes.

Hiroko finds her American-born cousins are totally American. Her uncle, a Stanford University political science professor, and her aunt, a nurse, regard her Japanese habits as quaint as her kimonos. Only Peter Jenkins, Uncle Tak’s assistant, seems to value her Hiroko’s Japanese heritage.

When the family is sent to Tule Lake detention center, Peter visits every day. Inevitably, he and Hiroko become lovers. When he’s posted overseas, Hiroko is carrying his child.

Steel makes Hiroko’s homesickness and her dedication to fulfilling what she regards as her obligations to her father and her American relatives totally believable. However, she fails to make Hiroko’s misery at college and at the detention center more personal than an encyclopedia entry.

Steel’s readers and Japanese Americans deserve better treatment.

Silent Honor by Danielle Steel
Delacorte Press. ©1996. 353 p.
1996 bestseller #7; my grade: C

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni

Racisim Is Sole Interest Left in Her Father’s Daughter

Her Father’s Daughter is a dumb romance whose only value is the explanation it provides of historical events 20 years after the novel’s publication.

Linda Strong, 17,  is her late father’s daughter. Linda is a naturalist and scholar, totally unlike her elder sister,  Eileen, a socialite and beau-collector.

When classmate Donald Whiting asks Linda why she wears such funny shoes, Linda decides it’s time she gets her fair share of her parents’ estate so she won’t have to wear funny shoes. Linda has been  freelancing articles and illustrations about edible wildlife on the sly, but apparently not using the proceeds for shoes.

While out exploring for things to write about, Linda meets writer Peter Morrison and architect Henry Anderson, who are looking for a building site for a home for Peter. Suddenly, Linda finds there are more interesting things in life than just edible plants.

The plot swings on a series of coincidences unrelated to characterization, which may be fortunate. Stratton-Porter’s  Linda is an implausible figure with the wisdom statesmen only wish for, incredible naivity, and absolutely no hormones.

Gene Stratton-Porter’s fixation with the “yellow menace,” the Asian population in the US, gives Her Father’s Daughter its only value. Such hostility among educated people made the confinement of Japanese-Americans possible in the 1940s.

Her Father’s Daughter
by Gene Stratton-Porter
Grosset & Dunlap, 1921
486 pages
1921 bestseller #8
Project Gutenberg e-Text #904
My grade C-
©2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni