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Off the lush coast of Kauai sits the almost unknown island of Niihau. Its inhabitants -- mostly Hawaiian natives -- lead a quiet, simple life. They work the ranch of the island's owner, Aylmer Robinson, an eccentric haole who insists that Niihau remain isolated from the outside world; no phones, cars, electricity, or other conveniences are allowed. According to Robinson's Christian view, his people must be protected from modern evils, and his island haven kept as pure as Eden before the Fall.
Then a plane crash-lands on Niihau. The Hawaiians have no idea that it's a Japanese Zero, and that the pilot -- who survives the landing -- has just taken part in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Concerned primarily with the fact that visitors aren't allowed, Niihau's residents await Mr. Robinson's monthly visit from Kauai. But unknown to them, the outside world is now at war.
Only the island's one Japanese-American couple, Irene and Yoshio Harada, realize the significance of the downed soldier. Convinced that Japan has successfully invaded the United States, and pressured by the desperate pilot, the Haradas face a growing dilemma. Are they loyal to America, their country, but one that has bruised them with prejudice? Or should they help the pilot, betraying their Hawaiian neighbors but saving themselves? As the Zero smolders in the Niihauan soil, and the Niihauans slowly figure out that the modern world has encroached on their remote island whether they like it or not, the Haradas see cracks in their own shaky marriage beginning to widen. Paradise, once within reach, slowly falls victim to its own isolated innocence.
Based on a little-known true event, "East Wind, Rain" is a provocative and compelling debut novel of people thrust unwittingly into a war -- not only of nations, but of American identity -- with devastating and irrevocable consequences for them all.
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