I won’t lie. When I saw that one of the titles had Hawaii involved, and then I saw that it really did have to do with Hawaii, I felt super homesick. Even though this was more during WWII and obviously I wasn’t alive during that time, it still makes me miss my island home. Thank you so much to Harlequin Trade Publishing for having me on this blog tour!
And again I apologize for this being so late.
For fans of Chanel Cleeton and Beatriz Williams, RED SKY OVER HAWAII is historical women’s fiction set in the islands during WWII. It’s the story of a woman who has to put her safety and her heart on the line when she becomes the unexpected guardian of a misfit group and decides to hide with them in a secret home in the forest on Kilauea Volcano.
The attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything for Lana Hitchcock. Arriving home on the Big Island too late to reconcile with her estranged father, all she can do is untangle the clues of his legacy, which lead to a secret property in the forest on Kilauea Volcano. America has been drawn into WWII, and amid rumors of impending invasion, the army places the islands under martial law. When they start taking away neighbors as possible sympathizers, Lana finds herself suddenly guardian to two girls, as well as accomplice to an old family friend who is Japanese, along with his son. In a heartbeat, she makes the decision to go into hiding with them all.
The hideaway house is not what Lana expected, revealing its secrets slowly, and things become even more complicated by the interest of Major Grant Bailey, a soldier from the nearby internment camp. Lana is drawn to him, too, but needs to protect her little group. With a little help from the magic on the volcano, Lana finds she can open her bruised heart to the children–and maybe to Grant.
A lush and evocative novel about doing what is right against the odds, following your heart, and what makes a family.
Sara Ackerman is the USA Today bestselling author of The Lieutenant’s Nurse and Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine.
She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her in the mountains or in the ocean. She currently lives on the Big Island with her boyfriend and a houseful of bossy animals. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing, Netgalley, and MIRA Books for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
I think I’m low-key jealous that not only was Ackerman born and raised in Hawaii like me, but that she’s still living there. Do you know how badly I wish I was back home on Oahu right now? Ughhh. Anyway, I thought it was cool that Ackerman loved Hawaii enough to write about it in a novel.
It’s also very clear from this book – and Ackerman’s other books – that living in Hawaii for the majority of her life (if not her whole life) has made an impact on her and her creativity. All three novels that she has takes place in Hawaii and has to deal with some world event that directly impacted Hawaii. In this case, RED SKY OVER HAWAII takes place after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and during the events of World War II. Now, while I do appreciate the fact that this book has Hawaii on the forefront of a WWII story – something that I personally have never seen before – I was a little worried about how Ackerman would portray the local Hawaiian people in this story. Since that has never been discussed in historical fiction to an extent like Europe, I wanted to make sure that this was done right, and that it truly captured what it was like for Hawaii after Pearl Harbor.
I also appreciated the fact that even though this story takes place in Hawaii, Ackerman did not try to tell the story of a POC living during WWII for this story. I don’t think she would have been able to portray everything that POCs were going through in the right way, and that’s just based on the fact that there’s no way she could have known. I am grateful that she stuck with a character that she could relate to, and told this story through their eyes. I don’t know if I got “white savior” vibes from this because of the fact that Lana was helping to hide people from being taken to a detainment camp, and I don’t personally know if there were white people that actually did help them during this time, but I just don’t know even now if that was what I felt. I do think that it wasn’t Ackerman’s intention at all, but for those that may have a more personal connection to the events of WWII and most especially in Hawaii, there is a possibility that it could come off that way.
In the end, I do feel like Ackerman’s love and appreciation for the history of Hawaii is clear in her novels, and making sure that she doesn’t overstep any boundaries of telling stories that are not meant for her to tell was good on her part.