Young Rachel Kalama, growing up in idyllic Honolulu in the 1890s, is part of a big, loving Hawaiian family, and dreams of seeing the far-off lands that her father, a merchant seaman, often visits. But at the age of seven, Rachel and her dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy. Forcibly removed from her family, she is sent to Kalaupapa, the isolated leper colony on the island of Moloka'i.
In her exile she finds a family of friends to replace the family she's lost: a native healer, Haleola, who becomes her adopted "auntie" and makes Rachel aware of the rich culture and mythology of her people; Sister Mary Catherine Voorhies, one of the Franciscan sisters who care for young girls at Kalaupapa; and the beautiful, worldly Leilani, who harbors a surprising secret. At Kalaupapa she also meets the man she will one day marry.
True to historical accounts, Moloka'i is the story of an extraordinary human drama, the full scope and pathos of which has never been told before in fiction. But Rachel's life, though shadowed by disease, isolation, and tragedy, is also one of joy, courage, and dignity. This is a story about life, not death; hope, not despair. It is not about the failings of flesh, but the strength of the human spirit.
About Alan BrennertSee more books from this Author
Leprosy may seem a macabre subject, but Brennert transforms the material into a touching, lovely account of a woman's journey as she rises above the limitations of a devastating illness.Read Full Review of Moloka'i | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly
This is a gripping, page-turning novel filled with grief and hope . . . The saga is spellbinding and the story-telling is nothing short of brilliant.Read Full Review of Moloka'i
A beautifully-wrought tale of Hawaii’s turn-of-the-century leper colony, told with careful attention to historical detail, political context, cultural sensitivity, and with total respect for the humanity of the colony’s quarantined residents.Read Full Review of Moloka'i
This book blew me away with its tragedy, its emotion and its impact. It’s a heavy book, but one I’d recommend to anyone looking for a good read.Read Full Review of Moloka'i
Despite the tragic and unfortunate circumstances, this is a heartwarming story of the power of friendship and the determined will of Rachel Kalama in a leper colony in old Hawaii. A beautiful book that is a must read.Read Full Review of Moloka'i
An aggregated and normalized score based on 1915 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes