Inspired by true events, All Sorrows Can Be Borne is the story of Noriko Ito, a Japanese woman faced with unimaginable circumstances that force her to give up her son to save her husband. Set in Hiroshima, Osaka, and the badlands of eastern Montana and spanning the start of World War II to 1982, this breathtaking novel is told primarily in the voice of Noriko, a feisty aspiring actress who fails her audition to enter the Takarazuka Theater Academy. Instead, she takes the “part” of a waitress at a European-style tearoom in Osaka where she meets the mysterious and handsome manager, Ichiro Uchida. They fall in love over music and marry. Soon after Noriko becomes pregnant during their seaside honeymoon, Ichiro is diagnosed with tuberculosis destroying their dreams.
Noriko gives birth to a healthy baby boy, but to give the child a better life, Ichiro convinces her to give the toddler to his older sister and her Japanese-American husband, who live in Montana. Noriko holds on to the belief that this inconceivable sacrifice will lead to her husband’s recovery. What happens next is unexpected and shocking and will affect Noriko for the rest of her life. Eighteen years later, her son enlists in the US Navy and is sent to Japan. Finally, he is set to meet his birth mother, but their reunion cracks open the pain and suffering Noriko has endured.
"Stephens evokes the emotions of each character with great clarity and power ensuring readers wil feel as though they were experiencing the story themselves."
"A compelling story of survival."
"All Sorrows Can Be Borne was absolutely beautiful."
—San Francisco Book Review
"Emotionally gripping with themes of true love, sacrifice, depression, and perseverance, All Sorrows Can Be Borne will give its readers so much to think about and be grateful for in their own lives. This is a beautiful, carefully written, detailed story filled with historical events and wonderful descriptions of Japan and Japanese customs."
—Manhattan Book Review
"All Sorrows Can Be Borne was absolutely beautiful. Loren Stephens writes the heart-wrenching story of Noriko and her husband Ichiro, a young Japanese couple who give up their son to American relatives. Readers who enjoy more serious novels would not want to miss out on this read..."
—San Francisco Book Review
"So many of us have suffered this past year or so. Many of us have had to dig deep within ourselves to learn how to bear sorrows and loss. Many of us have looked to the past for inspiration to get through difficult times. For all these reasons, Loren Stephens' All Sorrows Can Be Borne has come at the exact right time. Inspired by true events and real people, the story looks at pain and suffering but also the ultimate triumph of love, forgiveness, and compassion. I loved the book."
—Lisa See, New York Times–bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and many more
"All Sorrows Can Be Borne is a harrowing story of love and betrayal, all the more heartbreaking because it is based on family history. Post-war Japan comes alive in these pages, and even the most unforgivable acts make a tragic kind of sense when viewed through the prism of violence that marked every one of the war's survivors. As this tale makes clear, in the wake of such trauma, humans can do the unthinkable, both to and for the ones they love."
—Aimee Liu, author of Glorious Boy
"Starting with the heart-wrenching opening chapter of All Sorrows Can be Borne, Loren Stephens weaves a tale of love, family, and loss with a page-turning plot. Both harrowing and tender, this generous and emotional novel pulls you into a story of character and place that’s hard to put down. This is a beautiful book."
—Barbara Abercrombie, author of The Language of Loss