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Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite
How Missionaries Destroyed a Paradise by Katerina Sestakova Novotna is a fiction novel with a religious theme. Laa is a naive girl from Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands; she does not fully understand men, religion, or the ways of the world. Yet, her naive nature is not entirely her fault as she has spent her whole life isolated on her island home with limited access to outside knowledge; she spends her time studying “The Marshallese Bible,” “Princes and Princesses” and “The Christmas Book.” Her time spent reading has only left her with many questions. Will Laa ever find true love or will her trusting nature lead to her being taken advantage of?
How Missionaries Destroyed a Paradise by Katerina Sestakova Novotna was an interesting book because the story stayed true to historic events while creating an enjoyable plot line. This is the first time I have read and enjoyed a book where the main female character was not a strong character. In the story, I found Laa’s naive nature to be sort of appealing at the beginning, but as the book continued on I liked how her character continued to face hardships which allowed her to develop realistically into a stronger and smarter character. I really enjoyed this level of character evolution, as it is rare to see a character change so much without the plot being disrupted or the character seeming fake. Overall, this book is very different from most books that I have read and I found it to be a breath of fresh air as I could not have predicted the outcome of Laa as a character.