Saturday, November 29, 2008

66. Moloka'i

by Alan Brennert

This is fascinating historical fiction set in Hawaii from 1891, when Rachel, the main character, is five, until her death in 1970. At age seven, Hawaiian native Rachel is diagnosed with leprosy and ultimately sent to Kalaupapa, the leper's colony on the island of Moloka'i, the one made famous by future saint Father Damien.

Brennert has done extensive research on leprosy, Kalaupapa, and Hawaiian history, and has even incorporated real places and people from the era, such as Mother Marianne Cope and politician Lawrence Judd, into the story. It has motivated me to read more about these subjects. Even better, Brennert has made Rachel and her friends and family into real people that the reader will really care about.

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