Attempting to flee her shameful past as an unwed mother, Ina Marie leaves her home state of Iowa and lands a teaching job in Hawaii. That’s where she meets Dr. Clyde McNeill, and they are married in the summer of 1920. Ina Marie enjoys the small privileges afforded to a plantation doctor’s wife, and she appreciates the time she gets to spend with her daughter Leilani.
But that bliss changes on a stormy night in 1923. While Clyde is treating a patient, he drowns, leaving Ina Marie and Leilani alone to fend for themselves. Evicted from the plantation home, Ina Marie must make a new life for her and her daughter.
Against the backdrop of the times and the sugar plantation culture of Hawaii, Ina Marie navigates through the full wave of events driven by the forces of Prohibition. It’s also a time when automobiles are just becoming a more common means of travel and women have achieved their voting rights. A work of historical fiction, Haole Wife, by author Margaret Drake, tells the story of one woman and what it takes to survive in the Prohibition Era of the 1920s on Hawaii Island.