One Hawaiian Morning
by Kelli Gard

"We didn’t move; we swayed face-to-face, our bodies close together, hanging on a ladder in the middle of a US navy ship for a few sweet moments."

The year is 1940. Ruth Shepler is a twenty-year-old girl whose family lives on the gorgeous island of Oahu, Hawaii, where her dad is retired from the U.S. Naval Air Corps. Though the family is white, Ruth, in particular, very much enjoys the local indigenous Hawaiian culture. Every single morning she races down to the ocean to surf the waves with her best friend Kekoa, who is like a brother to her. Even with the urging of her parents, Ruth has no interest in dating any men, let alone flirting with the hundreds of naval seaman who yearn to meet the local women. All of this changes when Ruth, while surfing the Hawaiian waves one day, meets William, a lieutenant commander on one of the naval ships. Young Ruth realizes, against her initial pride of independence, that she and William have fallen in love. The romance (and eventual marriage) between the two intensifies and yet is constantly challenged by the sailor's long journeys away at sea.

Gard has written an engaging story of young love in an unusually beautiful and unique part of America. It takes place just before the infamous bombing by the Japanese, an event that changes everything—for the novel's characters as well as America itself. A small set of extremely well-defined characters populate the storyline, and an entire range of human emotions is explored through their experiences. Gard hones a strong command of master storytelling with characters and situations which touch the heart of the reader, evoking emotional extremes of all stripes. Anyone who enjoys a well-crafted piece of romantic historical fiction should enjoy this novel immensely.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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