Young Rachel Kalama, growing up in Honolulu in the 1890s, is part of a big, loving Hawaiian family but, at the age of seven, Rachel's dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy.Young Rachel Kalama, growing up in Honolulu in the 1890s, is part of a big, loving Hawaiian family but, at the age of seven, Rachel's dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy.Read Less
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I not only recommended this to a friend, i gifted it to one! When she recommended The Island by Victoria Hislop, I knew she'd love this one too. I've read both books and found them equally educational and inspiring. Leprosey should be a sad subject, but the stories of how the people on these islands built strong communities and lives makes for some very inspirational reading. Enjoy both!
Oct 26, 2014
Mr. Brennert takes a very sad part of our history and gives us insight and hope. I could not put it down.
Mary T G
Apr 17, 2014
a real page turner
Love this book the history & the terrible living conditions of the lepers but it is still a beautiful love story. Love the way Rachel has made the best out of a lousy situation. Have a hard time putting it dawn.
Mar 6, 2012
Wonderfully educational story
It's a well written, touching story and I highly recommend it. I learned alot about leprosy and the treatment of people who were afflicted in Hawai'i. Despite the devastating nature of the effects of the illness and the cruel exile of those people to quarantine, the story is incredibly moving and human. It is such a divine read.
Mar 26, 2009
I really enjoyed this book. In fact I took a trip to Molokai to visit the leper colony after reading it. There are 22 lepers still living there and it was a very moving experience that I am really glad I had an opporturnity to take.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-01 Compellingly original in its conceit, Brennert's sweeping debut novel tracks the grim struggle of a Hawaiian woman who contracts leprosy as a child in Honolulu during the 1890s and is deported to the island of Moloka'i, where she grows to adulthood at the quarantined settlement of Kalaupapa. Rachel Kalama is the plucky, seven-year-old heroine whose family is devastated when first her uncle Pono and then she develop leprous sores and are quarantined with the disease. While Rachel's symptoms remain mild during her youth, she watches others her age dying from the disease in near total isolation from family and friends. Rachel finds happiness when she meets Kenji Utagawa, a fellow leprosy victim whose illness brings shame on his Japanese family. After a tender courtship, Rachel and Kenji marry and have a daughter, but the birth of their healthy baby brings as much grief as joy, when they must give her up for adoption to prevent infection. The couple cope with the loss of their daughter and settle into a productive working life until Kenji tries to stop a quarantined U.S. soldier from beating up his girlfriend and is tragically killed in the subsequent fight. The poignant concluding chapters portray Rachel's final years after sulfa drugs are discovered as a cure, leaving her free to abandon Moloka'i and seek out her family and daughter. Brennert's compassion makes Rachel a memorable character, and his smooth storytelling vividly brings early 20th-century Hawaii to life. 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. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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