I just finished my second Augusta Trobaugh work, Sophie and the Rising Sun. While I LOVED Swan Place by Ms Trobaugh, I liked Sophie and the Rising Sun. This novel is set just before WW2 in a small coastal Georgia town called Salty Creek. Being a small town, there is no such thing as privacy. If you go for a walk, your neighbor sees you and takes note. But on the other hand, if you have a need, the ladies of Salty Creek Baptist Church will be at your door to offer help. The town of Salty Creek is shocked when an unconscious Asian man is taken off the Greyhound Bus and deposited at the local doctor's front door. When Mr Oto recovers, he decides to stay in the small town. He finds work with Miss Anne, tending her garden and living in a small house on her property. Everyone in town is curious about the Chinese man who works wonders with flowers. Of course, the townspeople assume he is Chinese and never refer to him as anything else! Mr Oto also enjoys spending time painting and finds that another local woman shares his interest in capturing the coastal scenes of their part of the world. Sophie Willis is in her early 50s, about the same age as Mr Oto and after years of caring for an elderly mother and two old maid aunts, she is ready to do what she wants to do each day. As she joins Mr Oto each Sunday morning to paint, they develop a friendship. She finds out a little about his life and that he is Japanese, not Chinese as the town people think. Mr Oto tells her that first and foremost, he is an American, born and bred. In fact his full name is Grover Cleveland Oto.
But on December 7th, Grover and Sophie must face the reality of Pearl Harbor and the outrage that Americans have for anything associated with Japan. The citizens of Salty Creek come to realize that Mr Oto is Japanese and must leave their town. Miss Anne and Sophie help Grover hide out in an old cabin in the marsh. Grover knows that this is only a temporary solution to his problem. He must leave to protect his mentor, Miss Anne and the woman he loves, Sophie. Now here is where I have a problem with the story...after a hurricane, Grover and Sophie are gone. We never find out what happens to them. It is left up to the reader to make up the ending. I must admit that after investing all that time in the story of Grover and Sophie, I wanted a happy ending. I am a reader who likes my books to be resolved at the end...happy or sad, I do not care but I do not want to have to come up with my own ending!! Still I would give this book three stars and I will continue to read the works of this author!