+Blog Book Tour+ How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag An achingly passionate World War romantic drama of two courageous souls entwined!

Posted Sunday, 10 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag

How Much Do You Love Me? Blog Tour with Cedar Fort

Published By: Sweetwater Books ( ),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)
12 August, 2014
Official Author Websites:  Site | @Thriller_Writer | Blog | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback
Page Count: 256

Converse via: #HowMuchDoYouLoveMe

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “How Much Do You Love Me?” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I have always been inspired by stories from the World Wars, the lives in which were altered by circumstances no one could control and how the human spirit survived against harrowing odds. I studied the World Wars in school but we never studied the Internment camps in the United States which displaced the lives of the Japanese who were either living here or already bonefide citizens. It is one part of my country’s history as the author himself mentions in his Preface that does not put our best foot forward. I grew up learning about Japanese culture, with a strong empathise on their fine art and musical traditions as my maternal grandparents had a fondness for their heritage. I had the kind blessing of cultivating friends from Japan in my teen and twenties, of whom introduced new layers of their heritage to me and also gave me the blessing of knowing that some parts of the past are forgiven, as one of my dearest friends was from Hiroshima. Her light of kindness and acceptance of me as a friend has not left me even though her path and mine led apart when she married. A close friend of mine from Okinawa gave me the gift of understanding multicultural families up close and personal as she married an American Marine.

Whilst knowing of the darker hues of our history are difficult to process and read through, there are enlightening moments of true heroism and strength of the will of man to not only survive but overcome injustice. I felt compelled to read this story whilst I read the synopsis as a window back through time into one family’s journey through an experience that is inconceivable. I appreciated the extras include with this novel, as the Preface delve into why Tag was inspired to relay this story as much as the Appendixes in the back are warranted to become introduced to the characters ahead of their presence and a knowledge of the terminology threaded into the story.

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Book Synopsis:How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag

Keiko Tanaka, along with her twin sister, Misaki, and two other siblings are first generation children of parents who emigrated from Japan in the early 1900s. Born in the US, they are American citizens. Nonetheless, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan in December of 1941, politicians whip anti-Japanese rhetoric into a frenzy, claiming that anyone who looks Japanese should be suspected of being an enemy agent of the Japanese emperor, Hirohito. Although government officials (including FBI head, J. Edgar Hoover) report no evidence supporting such suspicion, public opinion turns against the Japanese. Consequently, on February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signs Executive Order No. 9066, sealing the fate of 120,000 West Coast Japanese—including the Tanaka family of Bellevue, Washington—sending them to internment camps.

 Prior to the tumult of this anti-Japanese hysteria, Keiko falls in love with a Caucasian, James Armstrong. Contrary to their families’ wishes, they decide to marry before Keiko leaves for the camps and James goes to war. At Tule Lake, the Tanaka’s internment camp in northern California, Keiko’s and James’s daughter, Kazuko, is born.

Nearly sixty years later, Keiko has a stroke and lies near death, while James suffers from Alzheimer’s. Coincidentally, a chance occurrence makes Kazuko suspect that her mother has been hiding a secret from the internment. Fighting the clock before her mother’s death, she races to unearth the mystery. What she uncovers represents nothing short of the epitome of human love and self-sacrifice. But, beyond Kazuko’s realization, only the reader knows that is only half the story. 

Author Biography:

Paul Mark Tag made a career as a research scientist before switching gears to write fiction. In the late 1990s, in preparation for a career in writing, he wrote short stories only. Author/Publisher Arline Chase was his mentor. In 2001, when he made his career change permanent, he spent a year writing short stories only. These have been published in StoryBytes, Potpourri, Greens Magazine, and The Storyteller.

 In 2002, Tag began his first novel, a thriller entitled Category 5, which took advantage of his knowledge of meteorology and weather modification. Prophecy, a sequel, followed in July of 2007. White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy, is the third in the trilogy. With How Much Do You Love Me? Tag has switched genres, trying his hand at historical fiction. He lives with his wife, Becky, in Monterey, California.

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Multicultural heritage, marriage, and blended families:

What I appreciated the most about Tag’s presentation of the romance blooming between Keiko and James, is that he did not make any part of their lives cliche or expected. Keiko grew up in the Methodist faith whereas James was a Unitarian; two separate worlds of thought on faith and at the time they were living in the 1940s neither denominations understood each other as well as they do today. The fact that they were both American citizens, one of Anglo-Saxon heritage and one of Japanese is what put them at the greatest risk on the fringes of war with Japan. James was given a strong countenance for a man of his young years but determination to be with the love of his life endeared him to me on the spot. They each saw past their own differences and how those differences were viewed by others inside their own community to forge a life together that was rooted in love and faith. Keiko might be nineteen at the opening of How Much Do You Love Me? but her spirit of self-awareness and knowledge of the current events slowing turning the tides against her make her mature beyond her years.

The manner in which their love story unfolds is a slow arc towards their union, as we know in the beginning that they were able to be wed, but it is how the story revealed their path towards their wedding and the life after the war ended that proved to be the most special. Especially considering the fact they were breaking tradition, not only for the culture of Keiko’s heritage but for James to marry an Asian at that point in time was nearly not able to be done legally. I had not realised it myself, as to when multicultural marriages had been approved but I silently cheered that four states led the way forward for all relationships to become equal. (Washington was one of the four)

My Review of How Much Do You Love Me?:

How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag

We begin Keiko’s story where it starts to unravell during the internment of innocent lives caught inside the horror of World War, where prejudicial fear overrode logical sense. Tag does a beautiful job of shifting points of view from Keiko as a young girl struggling to accept her fate and as an older woman attempting to find solace close to her death. We get to tag along with Keiko as her mind allows her the grace of reliving her life before she takes her final exit and breath; to remember the joy intermixed with the anguish, sorrow, and ache of what happened during World War II. Her mind is our guide, her memories are our dove as we fly with her through time growing in empathy for what my generation thus far removed from the last World War would not know otherwise without her courage.

In the opening chapters, we settle into her family life and the emotional stress of not understanding the ramifications of the bombing on Pearl Harbour would cause for all the Japanese on the West Coast. Tag knits into his story the truth of the hour, giving his readers a testament of how difficult it was for everyone to remain calm when doorbells were rung and households were upturnt in search of anything the government would have deemed sensitive to the country’s security. You can feel the growing tension and fear as much as you can sense the forebearance of what that singular act of terror caused as it rippled through American life in the early 1940s. A fragility of acceptance was eroding away the bonds of the cultural divides.

As Keiko rallies through a devastating stroke leading her into a coma, it is her mind that still flickers with an active eye on everyone around her as much as what she internally kept secret from them. In the midst of this her eldest daughter, Kazuko is given the unexpected gift of meeting her mother’s twin sister’s fiancée from the war: Takeo Sato. This alarming new presence in Kazuko’s life allows her the courage to ask questions she never could find answers to from her mother or Aunt Shizuka. Misaki we learnt, through his recollections, was the sister he fell in love with and was betrothed but she had died whilst living at the camp. A saddened revelation as up to this particular point, I was already attached to her bond to Keiko and how the two sisters had drawn an alliance together to face whatever life was going to deliver to them.

Kazuko’s heart expands a bit when she realises that her father had requested special permission to return to the internment camp to meet his daughter and reunite with his wife before he went to war. Through her initial visit with Sato she had learnt of a missing batch of photographs. The snapshots of her as a babe and the loved ones she had not had the chance to meet as her Uncle had passed serving her country around the time of her Aunt’s passing as well.

Memories and living histories of families are what connect us to each other and endeavour our compassion for where we came from through the ties of blood and relation. Stitching the connections and memories together when a family holds back pertinent information is the hardest needle to thread. Being that there are pieces of my own family’s past that is yet unknown, I too, am taking up ancestral research (on the blessings of the work compiled through the Family Search archives) to uncover where the mysteries may lead me. I could appreciate Kazuko’s immediate joy in finding Sato; his stories illuminated a whole new world of insight for her, giving her the gift of lost hours.

Kazuko is a very intuitive person, she listens to the quiet whispers of truth alighting in her heart, mind, and spirit. Always mindful of what is around her and being cognitively curious to understand things that she cannot quite put a tangible touch upon until she ferrets out more information. She has a keen sense of following her instincts, especially in concern of a series of repetitive dreams where she felt more akin to travelling backwards into time; back to where her family had resided at the internment camps, seeking truth and understanding to better perceive the present. In these passages Tag gently gives us further clues to what happened to one family whose entire world had turnt upside down and whose choices affected Kazuko and Patrick (Kazuko’s brother), as much as the legacy left behind from the ashes of war.

There is only one continuity issue I have within the story, as in Chapter 33 there is a revelation that is contested a bit in Chapter 34. I cannot relay in my review what occurs as it would be a spoiler for anyone who has not yet read the story, but I was a bit surprised that information from Chapter 33 was not then carried into Chapter 34; to finally relent and release the truth that was hidden over a lifetime of secrecy. And, further curious in Chapter 35 the continuity of Chapter 33 continues forward. I have never been so confused; except perhaps the confusion is because the answer is too simple! Wait a second. Yes. What if the truth is that nothing said was false because it was believed by the will of the soul? Mr. Tag is one incredibly gifted story-teller if I sorted this out the way in which he intended it to be understood!

The gentleness of Paul Mark Tag’s story-telling style:

Tag is a gentle story-teller who breathes life into his historically enriched story with a kind grace for detail. The back-story of the characters is entwined with stark accurate detail, where you cannot help but feel the emotional merit of their angst and anguish. He visually carves the story in such a way as to feel immediately endeared to the Tanaka family, even if the forbearance of a beguiling unknown chapter of their lives has been held out of reach for generations.

He intuitively writes the drama of living inside the hours of uncertainty during World War II, but he does it in such a way that your heart feels lifted rather than bogged down and burdened by the heaviness of this new knowledge of what the Japanese faced and lived through during their internment. How Much Do You Love Me? is a pure testament of how to acquire strength and courage inside the hours of a lived life that is caught in a tidewater of chaos. And, rather aptly is a depiction of a story writ so believable as to extend a gratitude back to the writer who created it.

He gives us a new definition to the sub-genre “Sweet Romance” which has started to convey this side of the Inspirational branch of literature where Romance is not only plausibly real and honest, but conveys the full essence of the story without the brutality of violence or a harsh tone of language. I am personally a hybrid reader of both markets (mainstream & inspirational) but I do admit, whilst soaking into an Inspirational story the best bit for me is the pure lift of joy the story can give.

I am finding a beautiful harmony of balance from the stories available through Cedar Fort, as they are re-defining the Inspirational market one novel at a time. I find their inspirational and stories of faith most encouraging to read. They allow the heart of the story to be told through the action and lives of their characters for a centralised focus on character development and their journeys. For someone who appreciates stories built around characters within solid world-building narratives, I have been most encouraged by what I have found in their catalogue of fiction.

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “How Much Do You Love Me?” Blog Tour can be found here:

How Much Do You Love Me? Blog Tour with Cedar Fort

I will also be hosting an Author Interview on the 31st with Mr. Tag!

Previous World War dramas I have read & reviewed:

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Citadel by Kate Mosse

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones

Unravelled by M.K. Tod

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith

Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Upcoming World War dramas I am reading for review are:

Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani (about a photo journalist)

The Wharf of Chartrons by Jean-Paul Malaval (a vineyard in France)

Close to the Sun by Donald Michael Platt (fighter pilots)

Click-through to mark your calendars for:

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{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “How Much Do You Love Me?” were provided by the author  Paul Mark Tag and used with permission. The Cedar Fort badge was provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 10 August, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, California, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Life Shift, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Pearl Harbour (WWII), Romance Fiction, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, Sweet Romance, Taboo Relationships & Romance, The World Wars, Twin Siblings, US Internment Camps (WWII), War-time Romance, Washington

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3 responses to “+Blog Book Tour+ How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag An achingly passionate World War romantic drama of two courageous souls entwined!

  1. The most recent WWII historical fiction that I liked is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I also read a book a few years back called Snow Falling on Cedars and it was about a Japanese American family that is put in an interment camp during WWII.

    I will definitely be dropping by again. I really enjoy your reviews!

    • Hallo, Hallo Magistra!

      I apologise I did not get to properly reply until now, but I was thankful that you enjoyed reading about my observations on How Much Do You Love Me? as it was such a powerful story out of WWII! I am editing my Interview with the author right now, and I will make sure to let you know when that goes live; as much as I would like to visit your blog & see which WWII dramas you’ve been alighting inside! War dramas always interested me to read, but some authors have a way of bringing you full throttle into the story; Tag and Pisani did this for me equally this month. I hope you were able to read my review on Maggie’s Wars as well. Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll drop by again soon!

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