The novel is about two heredera cousins, Imelda and Gloria, who survived World War II. Forty years after the war, they are now living in San Francisco, California, dealing with the trauma of their experiences during the war. Gloria has revealed that she was a comfort woman, whereas Imelda kept it a secret.
Gloria’s disclosure hurt her and her sons deeply. Together with Imelda’s daughter, Adele, they started to gather other comfort women and advocate for them. Gloria is now dying and is imploring Imelda to tell her story as a comfort woman and continue her fight because it is in the interest of all women to safeguard against sexual tyranny.
Imelda lost a lot during the war and saw how Gloria was ostracized instead of being supported. She kept her secret to protect herself and her daughter. Gloria’s impending death forced Imelda to face the truth.
Imelda’s Secret is life changing. Her nondisclosure was meant to protect her and her family and, yet, the truth cannot stay hidden forever.