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.
Sometimes historical novels feel a bit slow for me—despite my love for classic novels, which are usually slower-paced compared to current novels—but I never felt that way with this novel. At heart, this is about a great American tragedy: not the bombing of Pearl Harbor itself, but the persecution and imprisonment of Americans with Japanese heritage.
But this is also the tale of Lana as she deals with a personal tragedy in the midst of a larger one, and steps into the person she wants to become as she finds her strength and capabilities tested by the times she lives in. This is an excellent read!
Sarah Ackerman is a bestselling author. Red Sky Over Hawaii is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)