The Aloha Spirit

Written by Linda Ulleseit
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

Spanning almost thirty years in the 20th century, The Aloha Spirit follows the life of Dolores. She is left behind on the Big Island of Hawaii at age seven, as her father relocates to California. Left in the care of a Hawaiian family that regularly takes in children in exchange for a fee, Dolores clings to the hope that the situation will only be temporary. She is quickly put to work doing massive amounts of laundry that the Hawaiian family takes in as another way to make an income.

At sixteen, Dolores is still living with the Hawaiian family and has given up any hope of ever being reunited with her father. Then she meets handsome Manolo Medeiros and falls in love. It doesn’t take her long to find out that married life with Manolo has its heartaches. A heavy drinker, he strikes out in anger when frustrated. By nineteen, she realizes that her two children will be her only joy in life. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dolores journeys to California to start anew, carrying the spirit of aloha with her.

Good historical accuracy and an admirable glossary complement the author’s efforts. The pacing slowed in spots, and the concept of “aloha spirit” was reiterated maybe more than necessary. Still a good read. Recommended.