I loved Honolulu by Alan Brennert! Honolulu is just one of those books that sucks you in - with its story, characters, great writing - and compels you to read just one more chapter, even though it's already 2am.
Honolulu tells the story of Regret , the only girl born to a traditional Korean family. Wishing to learn, Regret approaches her father, only to be beat down and berated. As a last resort, Regret secretly offers herself up as a picture bride (equivalent of a mail-order bride), only telling her parents once the match is complete. Disowned by her father, Regret travels to Hawaii to meet the rich, handsome husband promised by the matchmaker. Once in Hawaii, Regret finds herself as a wife to a plantation worker with drinking and gambling problems, and a foul temper. Nothing she does is ever good enough, and she endures much physical abuse before choosing to leave her husband, and run away to Honolulu. In control of her life for the first time, Regret (now taking the name Jin) finds her way with hard work and the renewed friendships with the other picture brides. Through numerous tests and trials, Jin realizes the strength she never knew she had, and becomes a great immigrant success story.
In addition to spanning Jin's entire lifetime, Honolulu is a very accurate depiction of life in 20th century Hawaii. In the prologue, Alan Brennert explains that various events described in the novel are historically accurate. I think Honolulu is a great way to learn about that part of Hawaii's history while enjoying the story. I only wish that we read more books like this in history classes.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a very quick read and shared a lot of the history of the community along with presenting an enjoyable story.