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The spirit of aloha is found in Hawaii's fresh ocean air, the flowers, the trade winds . . . the natural beauty that smooth the struggles of daily life. In 1922 Honolulu, unhappy in the adoptive family that's raised her, Dolores begins to search for that spirit early on--and she begins by running away at sixteen to live with her newlywed friend Maria. Trying to find her own love, Dolores marries a young Portuguese man named Manolo His large family embraces her, but when his drinking leads to physical abuse, only his relative Alberto comes to her rescue--and sparks a passion within Dolores that she hasn't known before. Staunch Catholics can't divorce, however; so, after the Pearl Harbor attack, Dolores flees with her two daughters to California, only to be followed by both Manolo and Alberto. In California, Manolo's drinking problems continue--and Alberto's begin. Outraged that yet another man in her life is turning to the bottle for answers, Dolores starts to doubt her feelings for Alberto. Is he only going to disappoint her, as Manolo has? Or is Alberto the embodiment of the aloha spirit she's been seeking?