I love anything from the 1930s. The music, the clothes, the hair, the movies, all of that good stuff. So when I was asked to do a review/blog tour participant, I was excited.
The year is 1930. The place: Manila. Douglas MacArthur is the most powerful man in the Philippines, a United States colony. He’s fifty years old, divorced, and he falls in love at first sight with a ravishing young Filipino woman. He writes her a love note on the spot. Her name is Isabel Rosario Cooper, an aspiring movie actress. One glance at his note and she thinks of him as my MacArthur.
MacArthur pushes his romantic obsession even though he’s breaking numerous taboos. She reciprocates his affection because he could open doors for her financially struggling family. That MacArthur happens to be handsome compensates for the fact that he’s as old as her father.
When MacArthur is appointed the U.S. Army chief of staff, he becomes the youngest four-star general and one of America’s most powerful men. Out of hubris, he takes Isabel with him to America without marrying her.
And the backdrop of the Great Depression, MacArthur and Isabel’s relationship persists like “a perilous voyage on turbulent waters,” as she describes it. In 1934, after four years of relationship, MacArthur leaves Isabel for fear of a political scandal.
The general goes on to become the iconic hero of World War II, liberating the Philippines and rebuilding Japan. Isabel drifts to Los Angeles unable to muster the courage to return to Manila. As he ascends to his special place in American history, she plunges into a dark place, ultimately meeting a tragic death.
Now, I was warned that this book is a work of fiction. But, the way it was written, it felt like it was real. You are swallowed up whole into a long-ago era, an era, I truly believe I belong in. Pick up My MacArthur and get swooped in with romance, history (fictional, I feel I have to keep reminding myself, as it felt that real), and drama.
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