I read my very first book by Sara Ackerman last year and really liked it, so when I saw that she was coming out with another war time book set in Hawaii, I was eager to read it.
The covers of her books are all so beautiful and exotic feeling not to mention set on the gorgeous Hawaiian islands and featuring a unique view of WWII, it’s no wonder that I couldn’t resist her books!
This was a book that I made room on my review calendar for and I am so glad that I did because it was a wonderful escape!
The attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything for Lana Hitchcock. Arriving home on the Big Island too late to reconcile with her estranged father, she is left alone to untangle the clues of his legacy, which lead to a secret property tucked away in the remote rain forest of Kilauea volcano. When the government starts taking away her neighbors as suspected sympathizers, Lana shelters two young German girls, a Japanese fisherman and his son. As tensions escalate, they are forced into hiding—only to discover the hideaway house is not what they expected.
When a detainment camp is established nearby, Lana struggles to keep the secrets of those in her care. Trust could have dangerous consequences. As their lives weave together, Lana begins to understand the true meaning of family and how the bonds of love carry us through the worst times. (summary from Goodreads)
As I mentioned, Ackerman’s books are all set in Hawaii and from her descriptions alone, I feel instantly transported to this exotic location and as though I have truly escaped. But Ackerman takes it a step further and explores wartime Hawaii and lets readers see WWII through an entirely new lens. The historical fiction genre is full of WWII books—but none like Ackerman’s. She has found a unique perspective to tell her stories and I can’t get enough of them.
While not explicitly stated in the summery, this book contains a romance which I absolutely don’t mind but I do know that some historical fiction fans might read the summary and think they are getting a story with more historical focus than romance. While the romance didn’t dominate the storyline, it did play a larger role in the story than what was alluded to in the summary so I wanted to point that out here for readers.
For me the romance was ok, but I had hoped for more depth between Lana and Grant. In the end though I found myself invested in their story and smiling at a few parts, eager to see where they ended up. But for me the driving force in this book is the story of Lana’s makeshift family and the detainees that are being held in a camp near Lana’s secret house. I was invested in this storyline and really thought it shined a new light on this period in history and I found myself stopping the book to research more about this time in Hawaii.
Ackerman has written three books now that are set in Hawaii in the days after Pearl Harbor and I have only read two of them now and I feel like I need the first book. While this is not a series, all of her books have similar themes (war time struggles, a little romance, and unique Hawaiian history) and I would like to read her first book to get a full picture of her writing. I really enjoyed this book and I think readers who are in the market for something a little off the beaten track would love this one. Plus the descriptions of Hawaii are enticing and romantic—so pick this one up already!