Title: All We Left Behind

By:  Danielle R. Graham

ISBN: 0008412413 (ISBN13: 9780008412418)


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra   

Actually 4.5 Stars !!!             


Vancouver 1941

As the war rages around the world, Hitler’s fury is yet to be felt on the peaceful shores of Mayne Island. Sweethearts Hayden and Chidori are in love.

But everything changes after Pearl Harbor.

Now seen as the enemy, Chidori and her family are forced into an internment camp. Powerless to help them, Hayden joins the Royal Canadian Air Force to bring about an end to this devastating war – the thought of Chidori is all that keeps him alive.

Can they both survive long enough to be reunited?  Or will the war be the only thing to separate their love? (Goodreads)


All We Left Behind by Danielle R. Graham is her first historical fiction novel… and what a novel it is. I am relatively new to the genre but with storytelling like this – I am sure to continue on.

The story alternates between two different (albeit close) time frames – August 1941 and April 1944. It is a story that is set (at least to begin with) on Mayne Island, British Columbia. A love story between Chidori Setoguchi and Hayden Pierce that began when they were teens (though they knew each other since the age of six) but then they were torn apart as a result of WWII. 

As the relationship between Chidori and Hayden progresses, familial concerns arise from both families when Hayden asks Chidori to go steady. Hayden sees engagement and marriage in their future but with hostilities towards Japanese Canadians growing…and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 – their world as they know it is irrevocably changed. To begin with, there is the introduction of a curfew for Japanese Canadians, then they are considered enemy aliens, and finally the Setoguchi family is forced to leave town and sent to an interment camp. This separation is devastating for Hayden. So much so, he decides to enlist to help end the war sooner!

The story progresses in the two streams – we are lead through the trials and tribulations of Hayden enlisting, training as a pilot and then going to war. Many things happen to Hayden (which I will leave for the reader to discover). But suffice it to say – a very poignant story which had me feeling tremendous sadness, anxiety and at times hopefulness. We also get a glimpse of the life that Chidori had to live in the interment camp and then life following the end of the war.

I am appalled when I read about the treatment that we, as a nation, inflicted upon so many, many innocent people. All We Left Behind is a story of enduring love, hope, tragedy, how the Canadian government treated so badly those citizens of Japanese heritage (taking away their rights, property and freedom).The writing of Danielle R. Graham was easy to read, engaging. Her storytelling was delightful and kept me totally engaged throughout. I will have to seek out her other titles (under the name of D.R. Graham). So for fans of historical fiction (specifically WWII) – I highly suggest you pick this book up and have a read.