Rated of 5
by Susan Reiners
No Rose-Colored Glasses
This book has what I look for in a book: it took me to a time and place not well known to me in the company of people I care about. Even the bad guys are more than cardboard people.
The story follows Gen,an extremely restricted traditional young Korean woman who escapes to Hawai'i by becoming a "picture bride" in 1914. On the way she travels with four other picture brides, and we follow them for several decades as they make lives for themselves and mostly thrive in the slums of Honolulu. Real historical figures from Queen Liliuokalani to the cop that inspired the Charlie Chan character and a native Hawaiian lynched for allegedly raping a white officer's wife are unobtrusively woven into Gen's story.
My favorite of these is a wise-cracking whore that Somerset Maugham based his character Sadie Thompson on. Even Maugham himself has an (unflattering) walk-on part.
This novel was so interesting and involving that I intend to read Molokai as well, and I look forward to what Brennert produces next.