Eagle & Crane

Written by Suzanne Rindell
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

A complicated love triangle set against the backdrop of World War II, Japanese internment camps, and a flying traveling circus show is the setting for this riveting novel. The Yamadas and Thorns have had a long-standing family feud rivaling that of the Hatfields and McCoys—the current generation, Harry Yamada and Louis Thorn, do not know why they are supposed to be enemies, but they know it has something to do with land that one family allegedly stole from the other.

The two form a begrudging friendship when they join a traveling daredevil show as stunt flyers, constantly trying to outdo each other in the air and on the ground, as they both vie for the affections of Ava, whose stepfather owns the show. Later, when Harry’s family is interned at a Japanese camp following the bombing at Pearl Harbor, friendships and loyalties are tested. Several years later, the FBI comes to investigate when one of the flyers crashes on one of the family’s properties in an apparent suicide—but things do not add up.

The author drew on her own family stories when writing this novel. The characters are solidly authentic and complex. The book pulls the reader in from the beginning with an intriguing plot and fascinating historical context derived from a distressing piece of American history. It is part mystery and part love story, and the author does a superb job of blending those elements. The story is not told in a linear fashion; rather, the author allows the story to unfold smoothly and eloquently. Although the book does not delve too deeply into politics, it shines a light on issues that have become relevant in today’s political climate.