Review: Red Sky Over Hawaii by: Sara Ackerman

by - Monday, June 15, 2020


Red Sky Over Hawaii: A Novel
Sara Ackerman
On Sale Date: June 9, 2020
9780778309673, 0778309673
Trade Paperback
$17.99 USD, $22.99 CAD
Fiction / Historical / World War II
352 pages
MIRA Books

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ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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:


My Thoughts: 

In this book we meet Lana whose having a bad time with a failed marriage and her father suddenly ill she finds herself rushing to side unfortunately it's too late for him.  He leaves her a letter and suddenly Lana finds herself fostering two kids and two Japanese Americans.  As we know in WWII in Hawaii that's not a good thing. Add to the mix a curious character of Major Grant Bailey from the local internment camp and Lana has her hands full.  Trying to keep everyone happy and safe and learn what is so special about the property her father left her that isn't even finished being built but has a bunker area according to the blue prints.  Will Grant figure out her secret?  Will the kids she's fostering ever find their parents or will she have to keep them forever?

This book had so much going on I especially loved it taking place in Hawaii during World War II not many books talk about what it was like there during that time.  We get pulled into Lana's world and you find you don't want to leave it.  It's a captivating story about life in Hawaii and how some people did hide others not because they were evil but because sometimes people make the wrong assumptions.  

I also enjoyed how Lana was willing to sacrifice her own freedom for the girls who needed someone to help them so they wouldn't be taking care of but someone not caring about them.  There was alot of intrigue with this story.  Would Lana get caught and what would happen to her if she did?  Was this the plan her father had for her that he never told her about?  If you like World War II books and romance and action/adventure then this book is definitely for you!
Q&A with Sara Ackerman

Q: Would you tell us what inspired you to write Red Sky Over Hawaii?
A: I’ll start with saying that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (the setting) is one of my favorite places. There is a vast and unearthly beauty there, with a unique rainforest and ecosystem. I spend a lot of time exploring the backcountry and lava flows in the area. One day several years ago, I came upon a rustic old house tucked away in a remote part of the park. You would never even know it’s there. Needless to say, I was intrigued. When I dug deeper and found the house was originally built as a hideaway house in 1941 in case of a Japanese invasion, I knew I had to write a book about it someday. A year or so later, I met a woman who told me about her friend’s mother, who had been a little girl during the attack on Pearl Harbor and how her parents had been taken away and held for over a year by the FBI because they were German. I tracked down that story, which broke my heart, and decided I would merge the two and loosely base my story on them. Also, I’ve always been fascinated at how ordinary people band together during crises, and at the human capacity for resilience, so I wanted to explore this in my novel.

Q: Which character in this novel do you most relate to and why?
A: I would have to say Lana, though Coco might come in a close second. Lana was at one of those difficult crossroads in life, where everything seems to fall apart at once. Though the events of her life are different than mine, I’ve been through these periods where everything looks bleak and you have to pull it together just to survive.

Q: What challenged you the most while writing this story?
A: In terms of life, I had recently lost my father, and so writing about Lana’s father Jack and the house felt very parallel (my father was an architect who built his own house) to my own experience. It was a very emotional book for me to write, and yet I think it also helped me to work through my own grief. In terms of the writing, I didn’t have a whole lot to go on in terms of books or resources of what it was like at Volcano during the war. I’d had the opposite problem with The Lieutenant’s Nurse, since that was about Pearl Harbor. Luckily, I found one publication put out by the National Parks Service that saved me. I also had a few kupuna (elders) here that shared their memories with me. We are running out of living references from WWII, so I feel honored to get to talk story with them.
Q: You must do a lot of research for your writing. What was something interesting you learned while compiling research for this book?
A: When I set out to write it, I knew about the detainment camp at KMC (Kilauea Military Camp) but I had no idea that there was so much military activity up there. In early 1942 the Army 27th Infantry Division set up headquarters there and patrolled coastlines and trained for  another anticipated invasion. When researching, there are always so many unexpected things that turn up. I love it!


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