Escape to Hawaii: Historical Fiction

I just picked up a book that I'm really excited about, The Goddesses. I don't often read thrillers, but when I read about this title, it had one thing going for it that gets me every time—it's set in Hawaii! I love to daydream about those islands as often as possible so I read everything I can get my hands on that details the vibrancy of life in our 50th state.

Kiana Davenport exposed me to the beauty of Hawaiian culture and the complexity of Hawaii's past. Her books are filled with poetic descriptions and rich references to myths and folk tales. My two favorites are both epics that detail the changes, turbulence and wonder of life. Shark Dialogues follows one family through generations beginning in the 19th century, and Song of the Exile details the years during and after World War II.

For a view of life in contemporary Hawaii, check out Kaui Hart Hemmings. You may know her from her novel The Descendants, made into a gorgeous film of the same name. Her debut short story collection, House of Thieves, set her reputation as a confident writer who deals with issues, tragedies and everyday life in a straightforward and often very funny way.

Bird of Another Heaven is a satisfying and moving work of historical fiction. The story alternates between the life of a California DJ trying to piece together his family's history and that of Nani, his great-grandmother, who was consort and confidante to the last king of Hawaii.

For something completely different, check out Days of Infamy. Harry Turtledove is the master of alternate history, and in this gripping story he re-imagines the attack on Pearl Harbor. What if a full Japanese invasion of Hawaii followed the December 7, 1941 attacks?

Do you have a favorite book set in the Aloha State? Please let me know so I can add it to my winter TBR pile. 

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Chicago Public Library