Aloha, Alice 02/22/2010
 
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Honolulu by Alan Brennert
2009
Historical Fiction (saga)
360 pages

* * * * * Recommended Reading! * * * * *

While waiting on hold for Moloka'i, another novel by Brennert much enjoyed by many of my friends, I happened upon Honolulu while browsing the new books section of Library B. This fantastic saga spanning approximately fifty years tells the story of Korean Regret, who offers herself as a "picture-bride" with dreams of affluence, education, and promise to an anonymous bidder in the faraway land of Hawaii. Set against the backdrop of Hawaii's history in the early 20th century and the Korean customs of the time, Regret (now named Jin) experiences coming-of-age in the new land, along with love, successes, failures, and tragedies...pretty much all of the ingredients of a sweeping saga (which I LOVE, by the way.) 

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Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
2010
Historical Fiction (saga)
351 pages

* * * * * Recommended Reading! * * * * *

Alice I Have Been tells the story of Alice Liddell who inspired the story we know today as Alice in Wonderland. Coming from a family of prestige, Alice comes to know and spend a great deal of time with Charles Dodgson,an Oxford professor who later writes under the name Lewis Carroll. The two develop an interesting relationship that is both troublesome and full of mystery; this relationship ultimately leads to the creation of a story for Alice. The story becomes incredibly famous and Alice faces a struggle with her identity for most of her adult life because everyone knows her as "the" Alice - young with flowing blonde hair (which she didn't have, by the way). She faces many difficult situations, ultimately understanding her place in society as the Alice so many invited into their homes.
*Note: Melanie Benjamin has conducted thorough research to write a rich, fictionalized version of the true life of Alice Liddell. If you don't mind some biographical spoilers, I would highly recommend reading the notes at the end of the book. Benjamin provides a fantastic overview of the life, which I think is great segue into the novel.

 


Comments

Lynn

02/22/2010 19:12:02

"Honolulu" and "Molokai'i" are both incredibly good reads. I recommend them too.

I have "Alice I Have Been" sitting on my coffee-table right now and will be reading it as soon as I finish my current book. I'm glad to hear it's a good book -- it certainly sounded good!

 



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