THE SHORES OF PARADISE by Shirley Streshinsky


Email this review


 Like Streshinsky's others (Gift of the Golden Mountain, 1988, etc.): a hefty, quietly narrated, years-spanning tale of love and loss in a rousing setting. Here, the destinies of two women, orphaned in childhood, are entwined with cross-cultural turmoil and the death throes of an independent Hawaii during the years from 1898 to WW I. True Lindstrom, who witnessed the murder of her mother, and gentle half-Hawaiian, half-white Martha Moon, abandoned as a newborn, will meet in a kindly home for unwanted children and, with the dwarf Liko, form a friendship that will last lifelong. Later the tight trio will welcome another--the elegant child Princess Kaiulani (one of the several real people here; the princess was third in line to the throne of Hawaii, although she, like Martha, was only half-Hawaiian). While Monarchists, Reformers, and the ``Missionary Boys'' (descendants of missionaries bent on control of the islands) contend for the body and soul of Hawaii, the four friends mature and wade into trouble and woe. True loses the love of her life to a stupid marriage, but makes a strange one of her own to protect her unborn child by her lover; Liko secretly cherishes a love that dare not speak its name; and Martha haplessly hopes for love and career. Poor Princess Kaiulani will never occupy a throne. It's only after tragic deaths, a period of bitterness, injustice, even violence over control of a ranch, and mistakes all around, that all find love or a kind of peace. A chatty saga (perhaps a bit long-winded) with convincing appreciations of the history and culture of Hawaii.

Pub Date: July 17th, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-13568-5
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991