From the New York Times bestselling author of The Gutsy Girl comes this provocative, compelling novel of irrevocable consequences for people thrust unwittingly into a devastating war of nations and American identity—based on a little-known true event.
December 1941. The inhabitants of Niihau lead a simple life. Mostly Hawaiian natives, they work the ranch of Niihau's eccentric haole owner, who keeps his island totally isolated from the outside world, devoid of cars, phones, and electricity. But then a plane crash-lands there, and although the villagers rescue the pilot, they have no idea that he has just attacked Pearl Harbor. War has now come to Eden, slowly undoing its tranquillity, widening the cracks in the already troubled marriage of Irene and Yoshio Harada, the island's only Japanese-American couple. It will test everyone's loyalties and all they believe in . . . as Paradise, once within reach, slowly falls victim to its own isolated innocence.
In the wake of Pearl Harbor, an isolated Hawaiian community realizes new fears and questions old loyalties in this novel based on actual events. A lone fighter plane plummets into the secluded island of Niihau, owned by white American Alymer Robinson, on December 7, 1941. Howard Kaleohano, the village elder, spots the downed aircraft and urges its Japanese pilot, Nishikaichi, out of the cockpit. Since the villagers don't have radios and haven't heard of the bombing (or even the war), they don't know what to make of Nishikaichi. Howard decides they should simply wait for Robinson, the island's owner, to arrive. When he doesn't show, Robinson's beekeeper, Yoshio Harada, and Harada's wife, Irene, both Japanese-Americans, are the only islanders who can understand Nishikaichi's account of Pearl Harbor and his own mission, as well as his plans: he's not significantly injured, and intends to destroy his plane and the papers he carried with him. As the young couple wrestles with a sense of U.S. patriotism that has been wounded by past encounters with prejudice, suspicions overwhelm a once peaceful community. Paul (whose twin sister is Baywatch star Alexandra Paul) wrote a memoir, Fighting Fire, about her time as a San Francisco firefighter; her debut novel moves slowly, but with a lyricism that contributes to her characters' development. It's a promising performance. (On sale Mar. 14)
Customer ReviewsSee All
A great read
Careful, sensitive story digging deeply into issues of cultural identity. That it is based on a true story only adds poignance.