Friday, January 17, 2014

HFVBT: Jennifer Cody Epstein's The Gods of Heavenly Punishment--Review and {Giveaway} #GodsHeavenlyPunishmentTour

My thoughts
I have not read much historical fiction set during WWII. Not sure if I have shied away due to a lack of interest in the era, or for some other reason. I'm happy to say that Jennifer's book has opened my eyes to the possibility of great historical novels set during the time period.

This book did a great job of making me care about its characters and there lies its strength. Each character is well written and I found myself completely immersed in their stories, almost like I was there.

The historical and technical aspects of the book are well researched and phenomenal. The part of the book following Cam and his experiences in the fighter plane were so vivid and exciting, I found myself holding my breath...waiting to read the outcome. Completely edge of seat!

I really enjoyed Jennifer's writing and will definitely be checking out her previous novel, The Painter from Shanghai. I will also look forward to her future works. If you're looking for a great book set during WWII, I highly recommend The Gods of Heavenly Punishment.

About The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Paperback Publication Date: January 13, 2014
W.W. Norton & Company
Paperback; 400p
ISBN-13: 9780393347883

One summer night in prewar Japan, eleven-year-old Billy Reynolds takes snapshots at his parent’s dinner party. That same evening his father Anton–a prominent American architect–begins a torrid affair with the wife of his master carpenter. A world away in New York, Cameron Richards rides a Ferris Wheel with his sweetheart and dreams about flying a plane. Though seemingly disparate moments, they will all draw together to shape the fate of a young girl caught in the midst of one of WWII’s most horrific events–the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.

Exquisitely-rendered, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the stories of families on both sides of the Pacific: their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses–and their shared connection to one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.

Praise for The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
“Epstein’s second novel (after The Painter from Shanghai) is bursting with characters and locales. Yet painful, authentic (Epstein has lived and worked in Asia), and exquisite portraits emerge of the personal impact of national conflicts—and how sometimes those conflicts can be bridged by human connections.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is a page-turner thanks to its high-stakes adventure, torrid love affairs and characters so real they seem to follow you around. And in the end, this gripping novel asks us not just to consider a lost chapter of a famous war but also to explore what it means to be lucky—and what it means to be loved.” (Amy Shearn,

“The Gods of Heavenly Punishment showcases war’s bitter ironies…as well as its romantic serendipities.” (Megan O’Grady, Vogue)

“With stunning clarity, Epstein has re-created Tokyo both before and after the bombing in a novel that raises still-unanswered questions about the horrors of war, the cruelty associated with it and the lasting impression it can make on a person, a people or a place.” (

“An epic novel about a young Japanese girl during World War II underscores the far-reaching impact that the decisions of others can have.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Sweeping….[A] harrowing novel of destruction and creation that will appeal to fans of historical fiction” (Library Journal—starred review)
Buy Links

Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two daughters and especially needy Springer Spaniel.

For more information, please visit Jennifer Cody Epstein’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #GodsHeavenlyPunishmentTour

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.

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  1. I tend to avoid WW 2 books because they tend to be too emotional, to hard to read.

  2. I have read hundreds of World War 2 novels since it is my favorite era and they are profound, meaningful and memorable. Especially so since it was such an important time for the U.S. and Europe.

  3. Emma @ Words And PeaceJanuary 17, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    thanks for your great review. wondering if you would be interested another great one on WWII for another book tour. see here the info:

  4. This was one of my favorite books last year!

  5. I'm reading the Girl You Left Behind now.

  6. I enjoy a good historical fiction book! This one does look good!

  7. I love to learn about what went on on the homefront (whether that's in the United States or somewhere else around the world) during WWII. I'm also trying to get more into what went on in Asia during the conflict because I have read WWII historical fiction set mostly in the US and Western Europe. This novel sounds amazing!

  8. Wow, I have been following this tour from blog to blog, and I've discovered so many new blogs along the way. For some reason I was stuck in a YA discussion/giveaway focused vortex of the blogosphere. So happy to find blogs like this -- would love to snag this book!!! WWII isn't my favorite period, but it's the texture and depth of the historical or contemporary setting that best satisfy me in a novel...I think this book will likely deliver on that... :) Cheers--K

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