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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Warm Rainy Day In Tokyo by Kana Wu follows two parallel narratives. Bella dreams of owning a café in a bookstore and makes plans for an online education. Ryo is in a less dreamy situation as he faces tough decisions regarding his sister Akiko's health and chooses to move back to Tokyo to support her. Bella's boss offers her an opportunity to provide two months of training for a new café franchise in Japan and her mother eventually agrees to it. Ryo and Bella cross paths at the airport with both focused on their individual objectives. A while after Bella arrives in Tokyo, she settles in, and she's surprised to see Ryo again at a dinner party. As the story progresses, Bella and Ryo's relationship grows into a romance, but Bella is hesitant about a long-distance relationship and Ryo is determined to stay for his sister Akiko.
I love a book that asks what distances two people are willing to go for love, and author Kana Wu flips that theme out of a metaphor and into a genuine question in A Warm Rainy Day In Tokyo. My particular interest in love stories on opposite ends of oceans comes from my own life as an American who married a Brit and had a similar choice to make. London is easier to assimilate into and I really felt for Bella as she struggles with language and cultural barriers. I am also part Asian and it's very, very hard to describe what it means to be in the middle of two worlds. The upside is that Bella's experience holds promise whereas Ryo's is much more serious. Akiko needs a new kidney and, as much as I loved Bella, anything that does not involve death is an upside for Ryo. Do you see how complex Wu makes this? Do you see how important love is when that is all there is left to cling to? Yes and yes! Wu's novel is engrossing, emotional and satisfying, well-written, and a delight to read. Very highly recommended.