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Honolulu by Alan Brennert


by Alan Brennert

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Honolulu by Alan Brennert is an epic story about a Korean Picture Bride who arrived in Hawaii in 1914. The book follows both her and three of her fellow “brides’ that travelled to Hawaii on the same ship. Their lives have many ups and downs throughout the years and the author also includes many historical events that help the reader to envision how Honolulu was evolving.

It was interesting to learn about the Korean immigrants that became part of Honolulu’s ethnic soup that has led to the modern multi-cultural city of today. Being introduced to Hawaii as field labourers in the sugar cane and pineapple fields these early workers would save a number of years to have the money to bring a Korean girl over to become their wife. The girls, on their part, thought they were going to a place where they would find a life of less restrictions than they had in Korea.

The book is well researched and full of historical facts, but this very information also kept me from totally loving the story and feeling true emotion for the character. She seemed to be conveniently placed to be an observer at so many events that it seemed as if the story was secondary to the history. I would however, certainly read another book by this author as he was certainly able to breathe life into his settings. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Nov 10, 2015 |
Very good book, I loved the story of Regret and her traditional (Korean lifestyle). She leaves behind her native country of South Korea and finds comfort in the paradise of Hawaii. Regret arrived as a mail bride in Hawaii with high hopes of a new life. She endures hardship times from working long hours in a plantation, as a tailor and as a wife. The book presents rich history of sugar cane and pineapples and the long hours of working on a plantation. Wonderful characters that are intricately woven throughout the book, that form the circle of friends. ( )
  ggilbride | May 5, 2015 |
Having read Molokai and loving it, I looked forward to Brennert's next novel and was not disappointed. Shorter with fewer "ups and downs" than Molokai, this was still a wonderful story of an interesting life of a "picture bride" from Korea and her new life in Hawaii. I find the characters in the story to be very believable and likable in spite of human foibles. I also found the historical look at the development of Honolulu and Hawaii extremely interesting. Brennert does know how to create memorable characters. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 17, 2013 |
I thought that this was a wonderful book. A great story with a wonderful plot and lovable characters. I liked how this paralleled the differences between the Korean culture and the Hawaiian culture as well. I also learned more about the Korean "picture brides" than I knew before. It was wonderful how this women struggled such deception and in Jin's case, abuse, and they were still able to rise above it, and make their own may as successful buisness women in American. I also liked how they did not give up completely on their Korean heritage but were able to take the good parts of it and combine it with their new culture. Perhaps, a little far-fetched, that many of the characters all end up happy, but I am a sucker for a happy ending. ( )
  AdriaFaye | Jul 18, 2013 |
While I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as I enjoyed "Molokai," I would recommend it to anyone interested in Hawaii's history, or who is simply seeking a good, readable piece of fiction. Brennert does an excellent job of bringing his characters to life and the story and circumstances that are the framework for the story, are interesting enough to keep the reader involved. There is perhaps a shade too much digression into background narrative on the historical aspects of the era in which the story is placed; not enough to be tedious, but enough to be a bit distracting. ( )
  turtlesleap | Jun 18, 2013 |
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"Honolulu" is the richly imagined story of Jin, a young "picture bride" who leaves her native Korea, and journeys to Hawaii in 1914 in search of a better life.

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