Monday, May 22, 2017
Rating: PG-13 (There is no foul language, but there is some sex. The descriptions, however, are very short and sweet, usually only lasting a few sentences.)
This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai'i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.
Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.
My Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A good historical fiction novel is written in such a way that you forget the characters aren't actually real people, and this book certainly fit the bill.I just love that you can imagine that someone just like Rachel really did exist and a lot of those same things probably happened to someone. The book basically covers Rachel's entire life. I feel like I can't accurately describe it without giving too much away. All I guess I can say is that there really was a leprosy colony on the island of Moloka'i during the late 19th century and into the 20th. I was fascinated to learn about it and also a little of the history of Hawaii and their relationship with the US as well. I found Rachel's life to be an amazing reflection of the thought "Bloom where you're planted" and after I read the book I did a bit of research about Kalaupapa and found that the people there truly had a spirit of kindness and family. In their exile, they made a paradise. This book is definitely worth reading at least once in your life.