Search - Moloka'i

Author: Alan Brennert
This richly imagined novel, set in Hawaii more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. — Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-color...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780312304355
ISBN-10: 0312304358
Publication Date: 10/4/2004
Pages: 400
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 402 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Moloka'i on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
Wow. What a stellar book. The characters are still fresh in my mind, even now, almost 2 months after I read it! This is a very well-researched historical fiction, and it gave me new insight into the Hawaiian leprosy epidemic, as well as the annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. It is extremely well-written, engaging, interesting, and insightful. I even cried at the end, and I never cry at books! Definitely pick this book up. You'll never think of Moloka'i the same way again.
reviewed Moloka'i on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
This is a really good read. However, I found it to be very depressing throughout the entire book. I set it down about halfway through and took a break from reading it for about two weeks--just to take a breather from the overwhelming heartbreak I felt for Rachel. I would recommend this but be prepared for a heartwrenching story.
reviewed Moloka'i on + 148 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
This is an excellent book! I can't believe it was written by a man...he gave the main character, Rachel, an amazing voice. A wonderful novel about love, compassion, friendship, life/death,'s a coming-of-age story set against incredible obstacles in Hawaii at the end of the 1800s. My book club read this one month and everyone really enjoyed the story. 5 stars!
reviewed Moloka'i on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
When I think historical novel, I think yawn...usually. This book was utterly charming. It begins with a 7 year old girl that has leprosy and the turn of events that ends with her heading to the Leprosy Settlement on Moloka'i. What at first seems to be a death sentence then turns into a beautiful story of family, community, and hope. The characters in this book were truly original and likable. I loved it!
reviewed Moloka'i on + 334 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
My first 5-star book of the year! In 1890s Hawai'i, young Rachel Kalama is 8 years old when she contracts leprosy and is separated from her family to live in the leper colony on the island of Moloka'i. What might have been a death sentence becomes a triumph of a strong spirit as Rachel determinedly lives her life to the full amidst horror and despair. This novel puts a face and a human voice to the countless affected souls discarded by society in fear of this dreadful disease, and chronicles their battle over the years to not only find a cure but reclaim their dignity from the world that rejected them. While Rachel is fictional, she is set amongst several historical characters and Stein weaves a rich tapestry imbued with deep-seated emotion. Yet despite its moments of harshness and pain it's an easy read, flowing surprisingly fast as it draws in and completely absorbs the reader. Highly recommended.
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reviewed Moloka'i on + 32 more book reviews
This is why I read! I knew absolutely nothing about this time and place but was transported entirely. I loved Rachel- she became so real to me. A wonderful book, I can't say enough about how well written it is. I just put Honolulu by the same author on my wish list.
reviewed Moloka'i on + 10 more book reviews
A very sad story at times, but I enjoyed reading about the characters' lives, as well as learning about the historical aspects of the time (1890s-mid 20th century). The end notes were also very interesting, including a variety of primary sources that the author referred to for historical accuracy in his fictional narrative.
reviewed Moloka'i on + 106 more book reviews
This book really blew my mind, and has inspired me to read other historical fiction about Hawai'i. My favorite style of story, a strong female character, in this case, a young girl, who faces unbelievable adversity and maintains an uplifting outlook. The author has really done his homework; the story contains riveting details about Hawaiian history, culture, attitudes, and experiences during the turn of the century and beyond. Highly recommend.

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Rachel Kalama (Primary Character)
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