Book - 2009
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From the bestselling author of the "dazzling historical saga" (The Washington Post), Moloka'i, comes the irresistible story of a young immigrant bride in a ramshackle town that becomes a great modern city.Honolulu is the richly imagined story of Jin, a young picture bride who leaves her native Korea - where girls are so little valued that she is known as Regret - and journeys to Hawaii in 1914 in search of a better life.Instead of the prosperous young husband and the chance at an education she has been promised, Jin is quickly married off to a poor, embittered labourer who takes his disappointments out on his new wife, forcing her to make her own way in a strange land.Struggling to build a business with the help of her fellow picture brides, Jin finds both opportunity and prejudice, but ultimately transforms herself from a naive young girl into a resourceful woman. Prospering along with her adopted city, which is fast growing from a small territorial capital to the great multicultural city it is today, Jin can never forget the people she left behind in Korea, and returns one last time to make peace with her former life.With its passionate knowledge of people and places in Hawaii far off the tourist track, Honolulu is a spellbinding story of the triumphs and sacrifices of the human spirit that is sure to become another reading group favourite.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312606343
Branch Call Number: FICTION BRENNERT 2009
Characteristics: 360 p. ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

This engrossing novel is both the story of a Korean “picture bride” and a detailed look at Hawaii in its early 20th century glory. Jin is a little-valued daughter in Korea who hopes for a satisfying life in beautiful Hawaii, but the cruel reality of an abusive husband forces her to find strength ... Read More »

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Jan 29, 2019

I read Mr. Brennert's earlier book, "Moloka'i", and thought it was great. I feel the same way about this book. He is a wonderful storyteller/writer with great understanding of the underlying history and culture(s).

This is the story of a "picture bride" who escapes from the oppressive, patriarchal culture of early 20th century Korea. She comes to Hawaii and encounters more suffering and oppression, but has the resilience and wits to endure. Much of the book is grim, but there is also happiness to be found.

Sep 30, 2018

A very interesting book and a good story that takes the reader from Korea to Honolulu and introduces key events and people of the history through the saga-type story.

Aug 04, 2018

Excellent read.

May 16, 2016

HONOLULU is wonderful historical fiction set during the first half of the 20th century. With strong female characters, author Alan Brennert skillfully weaves real persons and events into the storyline. The reader will gain new appreciation for the peoples and forces that helped shape present-day Hawaii. Issues of race and immigration are proven to be as contentious then as they are now. I highly recommend this book if you’re planning a trip to the Islands - it greatly enhanced my recent visit - or are just looking for an easy, summer read. A good choice for book groups, as well.

May 16, 2016

I loved this book as much as I loved Brennert's Molika'i. His ability to capture the experiences of many Honolulu,s early residents through the eyes of one Korean picture bride shows his skill as a writer.

Jul 29, 2014

Loved this book - learned about some of the history of Hawaii.

Sep 22, 2013

Rich in detail and emotion, Honolulu is good historical fiction. As Japan occupies Korea in the early 20th century, old customs still prevail. Young women have no hope for escape from isolation, first in their familial homes and, later, in the homes of the husbands to whom their parents arrange marriages. Education -- even learning to read -- is the realm of men only. Hoping to escape this fate, young Jin signs on as a “picture bride” to become the wife of a young, handsome, well-to-do Korean man living in Hawaii. Of course, such promises turn out to be false, and Jin quickly finds that she has escaped the oppression of her homeland for a different, life-threatening oppression. Jin relies on the help and kinship of her fellow picture brides and others to escape and create a meaningful life for herself in beautiful Honolulu, which is transitioning from tiny U.S. outpost to burgeoning melting pot and tourist mecca.

JCLChrisF Apr 19, 2013

This historical fiction highlights personal struggle and the friendship of women woven within the fascinating past of beautiful Hawaii.
An easy read, always recommended for those seeking just a good story and a great pick for book clubs

Sep 29, 2012

Good story about a Korean woman's
life after becoming a picture bride for a man in Hawaii. Read in Bethany.

Aug 22, 2012

Excellent book. Well written & researched. Reminds me of a couple of sections of Hawaii by James Michener - Another excellent book.
Mollokai' i by Brennert is also very good but the saddest I have ever read. A real tear-jerker which, in my experience, is unusual in a book. Keep a box of tissues beside you.

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Feb 22, 2011

tessyjay thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and over


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