70. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
I adore Allende’s early works and count some of them among my favorite books. Sadly I haven’t enjoyed many of her recent works nearly as much, so I was delighted that I actually really liked this book. As a young girl Alma is sent by her parents away from Poland as the Nazis take over to live with her aunt and uncle in San Francisco. There she meets Ichimei, the Japanese son of their gardener. They embark on a secret love affair that lasts for decades. Now at the end of her life Alma befriends Irina, a young woman working at the nursing home where she lives, and they develop a friendship that allows them both to confront their troubled pasts. I give it an 8 out of 10.