Daughter of Moloka'i

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I adored this book.  As someone who loved Moloka’i I couldn’t have been happier to see that Brennert was publishing a sequel.  It was the perfect mix of embracing the story that had come before and providing a brand new landscape for the new novel, the relocation of Japanese to internment camps during world war 2.  Brennert’s new book could be read as a stand alone if needed, but Moloka’i is such a wonderful novel, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading it.
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The sequel to Moloka’i, tells the story of Rachel’s daughter, Ruth. Adopted at age 5 by a couple of Japanese descent, they all move to CA In the early years prior to WWII.  This book provides a rich detailed narrative of life in internment camps. The last third of the book reunites Rachel and Ruth . Mr. Brennert does his research to provide a unique story and provide accurately researched details to make this a richly historical novel.
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I read and re-read Moloka'i, by Alan Brennert, for book club and was thrilled when our members felt the same way about the story as I did. I have yet to come across an author who not only writes heart breaking yet heart warming stories but also the wonderfully artistic way he depicts the beauty that are his settings.
Daughter of Moloka'i is the sequel to Moloka'i that tells the story of Ruth, the daughter that Rachel Kalama was forced to give up at birth, in the original story.
A beautifully written heartfelt sequel which allows us to visit familiar characters and meet new ones. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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Daughter of Moloka’i is the sequel to Alan Brennart’s  novel, Molaka’i. Sequels are a unique writing genre; highly anticipated, highly scrutinized and highly debated. There are few novels and their sequels that achieve equally plaudits.
Knowing this, I felt a sense of trepidation when I began reading Daughter of Molaka’i. Within a few pages, the trepidation was gone. The hours that I spent reading the novel have turned to images in my memory that will last a lifetime.
Beginning at age three, Brennart tells the story of Ruth, daughter of Rachael, a leprosy victim. Rachael had the disease, but Ruth also suffered its consequences. Torn from her mother and placed in an orphanage in Honolulu, Ruth struggles as other girls are placed in families while she remains behind. Finally joy enters her life when a Japanese family adopts her and eventually move to California. With insight into human emotion, Brennart takes us thru Ruth’s life: thru teenage years to marriage to the internment in a World War II camp. But yet for Ruth there is more in her continuing life: a letting from her birth mother, Rachael.
Possibly Brennart’s  greatest  gift to the novel is his ability to deeply and deftly describe the places and people so that we are transported to that time and local. We emotionally connect with Ruth. We feel her sadness, we celebrate her joy and fulfillment. We won’t forget her. You can’t ask for more than that in a novel. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #DaughterofMolokai
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One of my new favorite books! This author has such a way with words the pages flew by in no time! I can’t wait to see the next work by this author! This was such a joy to read!
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In Daughter of Moloka'i, Alan Brennert brings to life a time and place – World War II in the United States - with vivid imagery and characters that pull you into the story. The story is centered on Ruth and her family. At the same time, the book makes broader statements that are relevant historically and in light of the strife due to race, religion, identity, and culture today. This is a history that must never be lessened or forgotten. The fact that this book adds to the conversation and provides that reminder make it a relevant book for today. 

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/05/daughter-of-molokai.html 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. Wow, if you love historical fiction you'll love reading Alan Brennert's books. I had a hard time slogging through as I am more of a suspense and thriller reader, but the writing is so descriptive that I was hooked to come back after putting it down. I would recommend this book for it's brilliant historical story telling.
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I loved this book from the very beginning to the very end.  There is so much going on, so many woven stories, I don’t even know how to describe it or do a review of it justice.  After reading it, I found out it was a sequel, I will definitely be reading the first novel. 

The story opens in 197 at the Kapi’olani Home.  A home for young girls.  It’s a windy stormy night when the baby, Ruth is brought to the home.  Both of her parents are lepers, but Ruth is healthy. 

From there we follow Ruth and the full life she lead.  A life filled with love and tragedy.   Ruth is half Japanese and half Hawaiian and is eventually adopted by a Japanese couple.  

They travel to California and we watch Ruth grow, marry, and have children.  During WWII, she and her family are placed in a internment camp.  

I didn’t really know much about the internment camps before reading this novel.  It was both fascinating and horrifying.  

This is such a moving story, beautifully written with characters that I feel like I know.  I hope there is a third book, because I want to continue to follow these character’s lives. 

I received an ARC of the book.
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Interesting book about leprosy colony on Moloka'i.  The writing style was a little week, so I don't plan to read the sequel.  Because I learned so much about this historical period in Hawaii's history  I would recommend this book.
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This is a sequel to Brennert's first book and continues with the story of Ruth, the infant whose parents were made to give her up because of leprosy.  Ruth is sent to a Home For Girls where her life begins.  She is adopted and grows up secure and loved on a fruit farm in CA and happily marries. 
 Life is good until the advent of World War II.  Her Japanese ancestry is called into question when her family is ripped apart and sent to the Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II.    What is especially effective and heart-wrenching is the author's masterful depiction of life at the Camp.  Life was humiliating and a blot on American history and the despair is conveyed so well by Brennert.  When Ruth receives a letter from her birth mother, the story takes on a new perspective.
You don't have to read the first book to enjoy this one.  It stands well on its own.
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I adored Moloka'i, so I was thrilled when I had the chance to read the follow up, Daughter of Moloka'i. While it wasn't quite as wonderful, it was still enjoyable, and I'm glad to have read it. The writing is beautiful, almost poetic, but the pacing was a little off for me. At times things felt rushed only to drag a bit later on. Overall, it was a very good book. Just maybe it is hurt by the comparison to Moloka'i.
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Only as I come to review this book, did I realise it was part of a series. So, I have read as a stand alone and that worked well. Ruth (Dai) is our lead character and we find her living in a Hawaiian orphanage because her parents both had leprosy and were forced to live on the island of Kalaupapa (a leper colony). They were also forced to give her a birth.

This book follows young Ruth from her arrival at the Kapi'olani Home for Girls in Honolulu, to her adoption by a Japanese couple who raise her on a farm in California, her marriage to Frank and her Japanese families unjust internment at Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II. Ruth's life is again turned on its head when she receives a letter from a woman who says she is her birth mother. Her name is Rachel.

Ruth and Rachel’s reunion then turns into a 22-year relationship. Two woman who never expected to meet, much less come to love, one another. A second loving mum for Ruth.......twice the love and twice the pain. For Ruth it is a union of discovering a family history she knew nothing about. Who she really is. Half Hawaiian and half Japanese. So we are taken on her journey, unravelling the beauty and history of both cultures.

Only when you get to the end of the story, do you see the evidence (in the acknowledgements) of the huge amounts of research undertaken by the author Alan Brennert. The author's descriptions of leprosy, quarantine, sulfa drugs and internment camps have been extensively researched. Personally, I never knew such atrocities and un-justices were placed on Japanese living in USA at the time of WWII. A journey of discovery for me also.

#DaughterOfMolokai #NetGalley
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I received an advanced copy of this one.  I just can’t get into it.  This is the story of Ruth, who was given up by her parents who live in a leprosy colony and she is put in an orphanage.  She is then adopted.  I tried several times to get into this one, but I just couldn’t.
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Daughter of Molika'i, is the long awaited sequel to Moloka'i, by Alan Brennert.  Moloka'i''s plot  surrounded the life of Rachel, a young girl of Hawaiian ethnicity who, at the age of seven, contracts leprosy and is sent to a leper colony on the island of Moloka'i where she lived for over half a century.   The “Daughter”of Molika'i is Rachel's daughter, Ruth.   Her story is told in three parts:  Ruth's life after her adoption by the Japanese family who took her out of the leper colony and, eventually, to the United States; her life in California and an internment camp, during World War II; and her life after the war ends.  
	Both books are historically relevant fiction about an important time in our past and a side of American history many of us know very little about.  Readers get a clear picture of the leper colony, discrimination in both Hawaii and California and life in Japanese internment camps.
	  While there was nothing innately wrong with Daughter of Molika'i, it didn't live up to the quality of its predecessor.  Both the plot and the story had great potential. Brennert landed his audience in California too fast. Ruth's life in Hawaii was rushed and the reader is denied sufficient character development.  We were  expected to just accept her life with her adoptive family and the strong, empathic person she becomes. 
	  Brennert's writing can be beautiful, poetic and his storytelling a great way to learn history.  Sadly it was his storytelling that didn't work this time. I was really enjoying his telling of Ruth's life in California and the plight of the Japanese Americans during WWII but needed a good strong editor.   His writing was poor and there were too many shopworn phrases.  I wondered if Brennert was tired of the storyline and just wanted to get the promised sequel finished or, maybe, he thought his old research could cover up for the fact that his heart wasn't in it.
	I will give Daughter of Molika'i three stars because the history and some of Brennert's scenery and narrative make it work it, especially those readers who have not read his previous novels and do not have the high expectations that I did.  I look forward to his next novel, hoping it is as fresh and exciting as Moloka'i.
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I read Moloka'i about four years ago, after one of my high school students suggested that I read it. We also read it for our book club. I absolutely loved Moloka'i. There was so much history and emotion packed into that novel, and it is one that has always stayed with me. When I saw that Brennert was coming out with a sequel to Moloka'i, I was thrilled! I had high hopes and expectations going into DOM, and I am happy to report that it did not let me down! DOM was just as beautiful as the first one. I felt like I really connected to both Ruth and Rachel's characters and stories. As a mother, my heart ached for Rachel. As a daughter, my heart ached for Ruth. I can't even begin to describe the emotion that I felt while reading this book. There were even a couple of parts that left me in tears. Brennert has a way of completely pulling you into the story, and making you forget that you are reading about fictional characters. The prose was beautiful and moving, and I loved getting to know Rachel and Ruth. Just like Moloka'i, Daughter of Moloka'i will continue to stay with me. 5/5 stars. If you haven't read this one yet, what are you waiting for? Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free review copy of this book!
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What a beautiful followup to the first book. It was great to hear more of Rachels story and I found it to be heartbreaking and moving. This one wasn't quite as much of a pageturner as the first book was for me but I definitely still enjoyed it.
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Would you part from your child to give it a better life ?
The story of the people afflicited with leprocy and their difficult lives and decisions.
This book gives a very different view of the paradise of Hawaii.
Enlightening read
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Summary: In the Kapi’olani Home for Girls on O’ahu, three-year-old Ruth is a lively handful. Ruth loves animals and wants a pet of her own. But as loving as the nuns in the Catholic orphanage are, they must maintain the strict rules and can’t allow Ruth to be an exception.

But Ruth is already an exception in the Hawaiian orphanage. While all the other girls are also children of lepers, they are of pure Hawaiian heritage.  Ruth is different. She is hapa, someone of mixed heritage. Ruth is half Japanese, born to her parents who met in the leper colony on Moloka’i. When potential adoptive parents meet her, they turn away, not wanting to take on a child who not only carries the stigma of leprosy but is also hapa.

Finally, a Japanese couple adopts Ruth. She becomes Ruth Dai Watanabe and lives with her two brothers and new parents in Chinatown. She learns to speak Japanese and is taught their customs. Ruth thrives in the love of her adoptive family, but she is still hapa.

The novel follows Ruth as her family moves to California. There she grows up and has a family of her own. But after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Ruth and all the other people of Japanese descent on the west coast are rounded up in concentration camps or sent back to Japan. After the camps are closed, Ruth and her family return to California to try to put their lives back together. It is after going through all this that Ruth gets a surprise and finally learns to accept her heritage.

Comments: I absolutely loved the first Moloka'i book and wasn’t disappointed by this sequel, Daughter of Moloka'i. While the first takes place almost exclusively on the island, this one reflects the changes in the treatment of lepers, both socially and medically, and moves to the greater world. A large portion of the book takes place in the Japanese internment camps and from the resources listed in the back of the book, I know the descriptions and details were well researched. In writing about Ruth’s mixed heritage and the atrocity of rounding up the Japanese Americans (and not rounding up the German Americans, for example), the author makes some profound observations of what it’s like to be non-white in America. What happened to the Japanese is not “in the past”. It happened and continues to happen to Native Americans, Blacks and currently to Hispanics and others. Fear and ignorance are powerful forces that destroy people’s lives.

Highly recommended for readers of Historical Fiction, General Fiction and Literary Fiction.
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I loved the storytelling in this book! I loved how I went through the emotions with the characters. This book is a must read!
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I didn't know Daughter of Moloka'i was a sequel to Moloka'i, a novel released in 2004. Nevertheless, I still found it to be a very emotional and poignant read. I would highly recommend it to my fellow historical fiction buffs!
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