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The Legend of Fire Horse Woman
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The Legend of Fire Horse Woman

By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
2003, 304 pages, hardback.
Book Description from the Front Cover Flap
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About the Author

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

In Hiroshima, Japan, 1902, a woman born under the portentous Fire Horse Sign is married by proxy into the wealthy Matsubara family, and sent to join her new husband in a new world—America. In California, 1942, this same woman—facing the sunset of her life rather than the dawn—is sent to a Japanese internment camp with her daughter and granddaughter.

This is her story. From one beginning to another...

In Japan, no Fire Horse Woman could ever dream of marrying. It was a tragic sign, a ruinous birthdate that occurred once every sixty years. Though always beautiful, Fire Horse Women were destined to remain untamed by men—and were to be avoided as wives at all cost.

An orphan as well, Sayo had two strikes against her. But her loving mentor kept her secrets—and made a match for her with the second son of a wealthy family. A son who was staking his own claim in America. Though beset by doubts and unforeseen circumstances, tragedy and pain, in this new land Sayo learns to harness the power of the Fire Horse—and survive all the obstacles that life sets in her path.

But as the winds of World War II begin to blow across America, Sayo and her family find themselves looked upon as enemies and interned in a desert camp. There, under immense hardship, Sayo, her daughter Hanna, and her granddaughter Terri will persevere. An undeniable desire will transform Hanna from subservient wife to a woman of passion and conviction. And a schoolgirl crush will give Terri the strength to believe in a future outside of the camp’s barbed wire—and beyond the boundaries of prejudice...

Through it all, confined together in the camp, Hanna and Terri learn of Sayo’s unconventional and courageous life and draw strength from the fire that still burns in her eyes—and in her heart. These three women, who in Japan would be branded as outcasts, find a place for themselves in the world—and become true American heroines.

The Legend Of Fire Horse Woman is a legend of mothers, sisters, and daughters...a testament to women who overcame all odds, teaching those who would follow how to find peace amidst chaos, and love amidst hate.

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Comments from Back Cover

"Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's storytelling is at once epic and intimate. I love each one of the girls and women whose adventures, guided by signs, dreams and spirits, take them from old-world Japan to modern American. Sayo, Hana and Terri will long live in our hearts."
- Maxine Hong Kingston, author of
To Be the Poet and The Fifth Book of Peace

"Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's insights and wonderful storytelling brings to life The Legend of Fire Horse Woman, and returns us to the Japanese American internment camp of Manzanar, where the power and strength of the human spirit soars amidst the darkest of days. It is a story both entertaining and enduring."
- Gail Tsukiyama, author of Dreaming Water

"Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston has created a captivating weave of stories within stories, perceptively delineating the pains, challenges and adventures of the Japanese American experience as lived by three generations of brave and ingenious women that readers will find themselves cheering for."
- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of The Vine of Desire

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Background on Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston co-authored Farewell to Manzanar, the true story based upon her family’s experience during and after the World War II internment. It is now a standard work in schools and colleges across the country. Her essays and short stories, first collected in Beyond Manzanar: Views of Asian American Womanhood, have been widely anthologized. Among her numerous honors are a U.S.-Japan Cultural Exchange Fellowship, an Arts American Traveling Lectureship in Asia, and a Rockefeller Foundation residency at Bellagio, Italy. The Legend Of Fire Horse Woman is her first novel. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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