Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Daughter of Moloka'i; Alan Brennert

NOTE--- possible spoilers -- read book 1 - Moloka'i first!

AUTHOR:  Alan Brennert
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: Hawaii and CA
RATING - 4.5/5

The much longed for sequel to a favorite book of mine, Moloka'i (read in 2008), which told the story of Rachel Kalama, a young girl growing up in Hawaii who developed leprosy at the age of seven.  She was taken from her family and forced to grow up in a leper colony on the island of Molokai.

While Rachel does return in this sequel, the focus is more on her daughter, Ruth Utagawa who was sent to an orphanage and then adopted by a Japanese family at the age of five.  Ruth moves from Hawaii to California along with the couple's three boys, and then sadly, Pearl Harbor forces a relocation to an internment camp.  When an unexpected letter from Rachel to Ruth arrives shortly after the war ends, the story takes an unexpected and pleasant turn.

Very little of this novel focuses on the island of Moloka'i. There was a lot of informative history which reveals the suffering some had faced, but, there were also heartwarming moments as well.  A powerful, well-researched piece about a time in history that was not spoken about often enough IMO.  I enjoyed the focus on Ruth from her birth to adulthood. I thought the author did a great job creating characters that I really cared about.

 I enjoyed this sequel, but wished that I had reread Moloka'i again since it has been 11 years since book #1. I guess you probably could read this as a standalone novel but, you'd be missing a really beautiful story.


  1. I don't remember seeing this book before. It sounds good but like you said, I'd have to read the first book first.

  2. I felt the same way: I loved the novel, but wished I had read Moloka'i more recently.

  3. It sounds like I need to read this and Moloka'i.

  4. That sounds like such a wonderful story.

  5. I remember vividly the first book which was very emotional for me. I did not know about the sequel. Thanks for the update.

  6. I remember reading Molokai. It was my first time reading about leprosy and I was pretty squeamish about it at the time. I developed feelings for Rachel though so I might want to check this one out.

  7. I think I need to read both Book 1 & 2 ... sounds like a great story. I wonder if I'll be squeamish about the leprosy

  8. I re-read MOLOKA'I this year in anticipation of reading the sequel, but I haven't gotten to DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA'I yet. I am anxious to see what happened to Rachel's daughter, so I need to pick this one up soon. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. I loved Molakai, but don't know if I want to read it again. Maybe I'll listen to it on audio before I dive into this one. It does sound worthwhile.


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