Monday, November 18, 2013

Alice's Review: Aloha Rose

Summary:  When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliquéd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family. ~blurb

Review:  I picked this novel from NetGalley because I have a fascination (bordering on obsession) with Hawaii.  It is a place I have never visited yet know that in my heart of hearts I will one day live.  Everything I have seen or read about it cements that resolve.  It is paradise, and yes I know it is very expensive.  Aloha Rose is my first venture into Hawaiian fiction. I was looking forward to seeing if the sense of family or ohana translated on the pages.  One thing I did not anticipate was the darkness.  Aloha Rose touched on a lot of subjects that went beyond the typical boy meets girl romance novel fodder.  It deals with adoption, the death of a parent, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease.  This is definitely not a light-hearted, feel-good story.

We spend a lot of time with Laney, who traveled to Hawaii in search of her birth mother to fulfill the dying wish of her adoptive mother.  This journey is one Laney does not want to take.  As someone accustomed to running and avoiding, she’s ill-equipped to handling this. 

I liked Laney.  At times she was stubborn to the point of frustration.  Kai was no prize either.  Would it have killed the man to be open about his feeling just once?  Sheesh.  I didn’t particularly feel a great love between them, but the lack of actual romance was okay with me because it was the depth of the subplots that really carried this story. 

Aloha Rose is Christian Fiction.  I have a confession.  If I had known that before hand, I know I would not have read it.  Ms. Carter did a wonderful job of encompassing faith into the novel without having Christianity being the first thing that jumps out at you.  There were parts in Aloha Rose that were a little bit hard from me to read, but that is strictly because of my (lack of) faith lately.  Her words struck a chord, my eyes welled with tears and I felt that burning in my chest.   It was a reminder of what I have been missing. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel.  It teaches us that ohana, ho’oponopono (forgiveness) and love are everything.  Mahalo.

Final Take:  3/5


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