Golden Scroll First Place Novel of the Year 2014 winner!
A child is dying. Her life depends on an explosive secret her grandmother has kept from their Ohana (family). As Mary Han wrestles with the toxic revelations, she must finally face the past she fought so hard to forget. A secret that opens windows to an emotionally powerful saga that reveals three generations of Hawaii’s multi-ethnic Asian and Irish families.
Shadowy pasts, buried resentments, and painful memories converge into a melting pot of assumptions and potentially violent confrontations when the immigrants meet in the sugar cane fields of Kohala, Hawaii where a savage, unthinkable crime and a failed strike draw the three families together in an uneasy alliance.
From the young Korean, Han Chaul Roong, who murders the hated Japanese invaders who kidnap his sister and force her into prostitution, to the Japanese aristocrat Kazuko who abandons her life of wealth and privilege to live in poverty with the servant she loves, the Asians came to work the brutal cane fields of Hawaii under Patrick O’Malley, a refugee from the Irish famine who sailed on a coffin ship to the gang-infested streets of Boston and ended up in Hawaii after the bloody Civil War.
Sean Duffy, Patrick’s nephew, climbs out of Boston’s slums to the top of Hawaiian society by way of a loveless marriage to the sister of the woman he loves. Kazuko’s beautiful daughter Mariko lives as a social outcaste in the whorehouses of Honolulu. Chaul Roong’s son, George Han, the ruthless mob boss of the first Korean syndicate, builds an empire while hiding his love for his brother’s wife.
Played out on a stage set by the Great Depression, WW II, the Vietnam war, and the emergence of the Hawaiian mafia, the colliding worlds of the immigrants and their American-born children and grandchildren come to a head when an entire generation protest the Vietnam war and revolt against traditional values.
Now the families must put aside their lifetime prejudices and grudges to save a young girl. Will their Ohanas survive the startling truth behind the lies?