This novel is not typical of what I read, but I picked it up based on the suggestion of a Border’s employee. It sounded pretty good and the title gave the impression of a great summertime read. I figured I could lounge by the pool and envision that I was in Honolulu. I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy Brennert’s novel as much as I did.
The novel takes place in the early 1900’s in Hawaii, centering around a Korean picture bride named Regret. To escape the oppression she endures in Korea she flees to Hawaii to marry a man who has chosen her based on her picture. All she knows of him is what she’s seen in a picture as well. The minute the boat lands on the island she is whisked into the courthouse to marry a complete stranger who looks nothing like his picture. Soon after she also discovers her husband is mean and abusive. Unable to endure the violence, Regret runs away to Honolulu where she paves out a new life for herself.
Brennert’s novel is rich in Hawaiian history and vivid details of the beautiful island. But deeper than that is the beautiful tale of one women’s courage and strength. Beyond all odds, Regret triumphs in difficult situations. Her resolve and determination are inspiring. I empathized with her pain, cried when she failed and cheered when she succeeded. Brennert created a sympathetic, three dimensional character that I could identify with. I enjoyed spending time with Regret and I was sad to close the book and let her go. ( I was going to say I regretted closing the book but figured that would be too cheesy)
Whether you are a fan of historical fiction or not I believe you would like this novel.