Plum Rains [Romano-Lax, Andromeda]
2029: In Japan, a historically mono-cultural nation, childbirth rates are at an all-time low and the elderly are living increasingly longer lives. This population crisis has precipitated the mass immigration of foreign medical workers from all over Asia, as well as the development of finely tuned artificial intelligence to step in where humans fall short.
In Tokyo, Angelica Navarro, a Filipina nurse who has been in Japan for the last five years, works as caretaker for Sayoko Itou, a moody, secretive woman about to turn 100 years old. One day, Sayoko receives a present: a cutting-edge robot ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂfriendÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ that will teach itself to anticipate SayokoÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs every need. Angelica wonders if she is about to be forced out of her much-needed job by an inanimate objectÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂone with a preternatural ability to uncover the most deeply buried secrets of the humans around it. Meanwhile, Sayoko becomes attached to the machine. The old woman has been hiding secrets of her own for almost a centuryÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂand sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs too old to want to keep them anymore.
What she reveals is a hundred-year saga of forbidden love, hidden identities, and the horrific legacy of WWII and Japanese colonialismÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂa confession that will tear apart her own life and AngelicaÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs. Is the helper robot the worst thing that could have happened to the two womenÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂor is it forcing the changes they both desperately needed?