Nothing is better
than being curled up
with good historical fiction.
“Readers will fervently hope that Anderson has more novels in her because this one is a winner.” --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Also selected as a Kirkus Best Indie Book for October.
"Riveting...Perfect for history buffs." --Booklist
“Running from Moloka`i is a notable exception that is worth any historical fiction lover’s time…Anderson has meticulously researched the culture and history of both leprosy and the white colonization of Hawaii. Her writing is exceptional…. I too give it 5 stars—I can’t wait for more from Anderson.” --Allison Casey, Mind Joggle
Mele's moment comes like a storm in the night. In the long shadow of this deadly disease is Mele, the papa she adores, and Keahi, the boy she loves. The signs were there all along; Mele just didn't want to see them. Now the truth, as painful as it is beautiful, must define the way forward.
It is 1884. In the days of a dying kingdom, Hawaiians have already lost so much. Now the native population is on the verge of collapse as the deadly disease of leprosy continues to ravish the islands. Hawaiians want to keep their sick loved ones at home where they can die with dignity. But foreigners make the laws, and they want them gone. The islands are seething over the issue.
So is the family of Mele Bennett, a young half-Hawaiian girl.
To Mele's white physician father, the only way to save the remaining Hawaiians is to exile "every last leper" to a remote peninsula on the island of Moloka`i. Willing or resistant, most with the disease submit to the authorities.
But not all. A few are hidden by loved ones. In caves and cane fields, in hills and valleys, they listen for footsteps, gunshot, or the sound of pounding hooves. Mele’s mother is secretly helping some of those hiding.
In the chasm between the father she adores and the mother who nurtures her Hawaiian heritage, Mele longs for a defining moment. She wants a shiny moment! Like when the firebrand is tossed over the cliff and lights up the night sky! Instead, she will be torn from the security of her childhood beliefs. It will take Jacob Maila, a boy she never met in a front yard she had never seen, to reveal to Mele the human toll of the law.
Mele underestimates the forces around her: the power of greed and the tenacity of hatred; the lifelong secret of Keahi, the boy she has loved since childhood; and the heart of her father.
As the disease unravels their world, Mele, Keahi, and her family will be reshaped by this painful time in the history of a fading kingdom. They will be sewn back together in unexpected ways. In some places with coarse ramie, in others with luminous thread.. Mele is not coming-of-age; she is coming-of-heart.
A deadly disease leaves an indelible mark on
a time in history, a mixed-blood family,
and young love.