Gene J.

Lehua is a Hawaiian noblewoman, coming of age when the ancient rules and customs involving royalty, nobles, and commoners are changing.  Hawaii is in turmoil and her ancestry gives her the obligation to be the voice for her people.  Lehua does not disappoint as she voices her opinions about the new edicts.  Her parents, however, worry that she is too outspoken, and send her away to a famous hula school on Kauai.  Here, Lehua makes friends with several young women.  She also meets and falls in love with Tong Ah Tim, her Chinese-Hawaiian lover.  What to do?  Lehua knows she can only mate with a man of equal rank.  In her case, it is her brother!  But she has given her heart to Ah Tim.  Now she must face the daunting challenge of convincing her family.
“Lehua” is a novel with several stories – how Hawaii changes with the white man's coming, the history of the Hawaiian islands, how Hawaiians live and worship, and how Lehua charts her own life course.  Gene Parola writes with intensity as she tells of Lehua's journey.  She uses many Hawaiian words and names which add authenticity, but makes it hard to remember all the meanings.  Also, because of the multiple story-lines, there are so many characters being introduced that it becomes hard to follow.  Still, the overall subject matter,  the intriguing history and characters make this book  a very promising start to the continuing series in Lehua’s quest to help her people and to live as Ah Tim's wife. It will assuredly leave readers wanting more!
Victoria Z. Burg