Moloka’I is an exquisite novel that blends history, human spirituality and rich language into a unique story of strength in the face of weakness, triumph in the face of despair and love in the face of bitterness. When a rose colored mark appears on the skin of sweet, spirited seven year old Rachel Kalama, she is instantly robbed of childhood hopes and dreams. She is sent to Kalaupapa, a quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. There, along with other exiled lepers, Rachel’s life is supposed to end. But what she soon discovers is that this is an island where people embrace life in the face of their own imminent mortality. This true-to-life story gave me a glimpse into a time in history that I was completely unfamiliar. It was truly a learning experience for me about the absorption of Hawaii by the United States, the disease of leprosy or Hansen's disease, the leper colony of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai, the island of Maui, and early aviation. Although criticized by some for his often contemporary language amidst a backdrop of late 19th/ early 20th century, I found Brennert’s writing to be particularly relatable in creating a more distinct connection with the colorful cast of characters. This novel is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. The story can be captured in a passage from one of my most beloved characters, Sister Catherine.