Advance reader reviews of The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird.

The Lion in the Lei Shop

By Kaye Starbird

The Lion in the Lei Shop
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2013,
    276 pages.

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There are currently 19 member reviews
for The Lion in the Lei Shop
Order Reviews by:
  • Beth T. (Savannah, GA)


    What A Treasure!
    If this book hadn't been reissued as one of Nancy Pearl's Book Lust classics, I might never have read it, and what a shame that would have been. This book is, quite simply, a treasure. I wasn't yet born when Pearl Harbor happened, so I was fascinated by the descriptions of life before and after the bombing, enriched even more by viewpoints from both Marty and her mother (and others). I was terribly sorry when the book ended. Highly recommend!!
  • Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)


    an exciting read!
    Nancy Pearl, of Book Lust fame, has undertaken a wondrous project: helping worthy out-of-print books become available once again.

    Kaye Starbird's The Lion in the Lei Shop is one of these treasures. A young girl, Marty, is evacuated to the mainland after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She and her mother face multiple challenges as they wait for the war to end and for Marty's serviceman father to return. In addition, Marty is haunted by what a bully had told her about a man-eating lion in the lei shop near her former home.

    The book covers ground not often dealt with: it's vibrant and fascinating. It's the best book of fiction I've read yet this year.

    I am so appreciative of Nancy Pearl's quest! I've ordered all the other books available in this important series.
  • Arden A. (Longboat Key, FL)


    War through different eyes
    This book is a reprint of an out-of-print book written in 1970 by Kaye Starbird. It begins on December 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, and details the lives of the wives and children of the soldiers stationed at Scofield Barracks. Most history books deal with the effects on the soldiers, more so than on their families, making this novel different in that regard. It was a narrative in the voice of 5-year old Marty, she with the fear of lions in lei shops, and of her pregnant mother, April. Marty, of course, does not understand what is happening and why her father is no longer coming home; and April is devastated to find herself alone without him, with no way to know how long he will be gone and when or if he will even return. How much better to be able to count the days, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you can't count infinity. Their experiences through each of their eyes, and their interactions with the other women and children, and the decisions those individuals make under very trying circumstances, add up to an entertaining and thought-provoking read, well-written and ageless in its presentation.
  • Claire M. (Sarasota, FL)


    The Lion in the Lei Shop
    The unreliability of memory, mothers and daughters, a signal event in U.S. history: these are the stones of this story about an army family at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Through the sometimes overlapping, sometimes colliding memories of mother and daughter we learn about the surprise attack and how the lives of army families were forever changed. Many families were evacuated to the mainland and spent lonely years hoping for the return of their husbands or fathers. This poignant tale of the lives and losses made me aware that it was more than ships that were lost that day. It's a wonderful novel of memory, hope, loss of hope and endurance that enables the reader a new perspective on human tenacity.
  • Joe S. (Port Orange, FL)


    Lion in the Lei Shop
    A very well written book. The author's use of an alternating narrative between the mother and her young daughter is an interesting way of showing how a young child's understanding and reaction to a life changing event, in this case the attack on Pearl Harbor, may be very different than an adult's . I enjoyed the book very much.
  • Linda P. (Medford, WI)


    A Wonderful Rediscovered Novel
    I found this to be an excellent read. The chapters alternating between April's ( the mother) & Marty's ( the young daughter) points- of- view of the same events was fascinating. The novel reminds one of how events can have lasting effects on the young & old alike. I've always enjoyed a good home front story, & this had a neat twist to it that makes it easy to understand why Nancy Pearl chose this as a "rediscovered treasure."
  • Maggie S. (Durango, CO)


    The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird
    The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird is a beautifully written novel that I highly recommend. Originally published in 1970 it has been reprinted for the Book Lust Rediscovery series. Two narrators, a young mother and her daughter, recall the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed and the subsequent weeks, months, and years that follow. This is a story about memories, childhood fears, and the different ways people cope with the same event. It speaks of women and their friendships, mothers and their children, and how life goes on with humor, tears, and love. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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