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Review: Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Title: Daughter of Moloka'i
Author: Adib Khorram
Year Published: 2018

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 312
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (HI, CA)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Honolulu, 1917. Infant Ruth arrives at the Kapi'olani Home for Girls after being taken from her mother, Rachel, who has spent most of her life quarantined at the isolated leprosy settlement of Kalaupapa.

Ruth is adopted by a Japanese couple who raise her on a strawberry and grape farm in California, and she later marries. But in the midst of World War II, her world is turned upside down as she and her family face internment at Manzanar Relocation Center. Then, one day after the war, Ruth receives an unexpected letter. The signature at hte bottom reads "Rachel Utagawa."

Review: I loved Moloka'i when I read it in 2016 and was so excited to see that a sequel was available. What I didn't realize is that Manzanar would feature in it right after I read Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, which is also about Japanese internment. It was interesting to read some of the same names and events in both novels, showing that they were the real being infused into fiction.

This novel is more than just Japanese internment however, we also learn about the history of the family and Ruth in particular from 1917 to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That portion is interesting with family, life in Hawai'i, migration of Hawaiian Japanese moving to California for faming, and more.

I love the characters, the descriptions, and the story of this novel just as I did in the original. A good family saga will get me every time and this one is done well. I also loved learning more about Japanese and Hawaiian cultures, especially the importance of family, which is such a strong theme throughout this book.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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