Ackerman, Sara. Red Sky Over Hawaii. Toronto, Ontario; Mira, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-077809673 | $17.99 USD | 338 pages | Historical Fiction
Inspired by real places and events of WWII, Red Sky Over Hawaii immerses the reader in a time of American history full of suspicion and peril in this lush and poignant tale about the indisputable power of doing the right thing against all odds.
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.
Red Sky Over Hawaii is another winner from Sara Ackerman. I love how she manages to sweep the reader away into history and simultaneously give them an entertaining read and engross them in a bit of history at the same time.
While I had been taught in school that martial law led to internment not being as widespread in Hawaii during World War II, I was aware it did happen, because of monuments like Honouliuli,, and admire Ackerman for attempting to recreate the fear and uncertainty the people were going through at the time. And having learned previously about German and Italian American internment in the US during World War II, I was amazed to learn that there were also some of them among those interned.
I really felt for Lana and how she found herself losing her father just after being reunited, presenting a theme of war leading to family separation, which was echoed in other characters, as well as continuing to resonate with many real life stories from the time.
Full of Ackerman’s signature transportive writing, this book is fabulous and is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.
Sara writes books about love and life, and all of their messy and beautiful imperfections. She believes that the light is just as important as the dark, and that the world is in need of uplifting and heartwarming stories. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine (read more). She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories.
A few of her favorite things, in no particular order – hiking, homemade PIZZA, a good thunderstorm, stargazing, BOOKS, craft beer, her wonderful BOYFRIEND, surfing, mountain streams, friends, and ANIMALS. In fact, animals inhabit all of her novels in some way, shape or form – dogs, donkeys, sea turtles, a featherless chicken, endangered Hawaiian crows, horses, and even a lion. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her in the mountains or in the ocean, which is where most of her inspiration happens.
Amazon (affiliate link)
Bookshop (affiliate link)