In the spring of 1819 King Ka-me-ha-me-ha I died after reigning over the first unified Kingdom of Hawai’i. His   young   son,   Li ho li ho,   became   Kamehameha   II,   but   effective   control   of   the   government   was   inherited   by   the   old   king’s  favorite wife, Ku hina Nui [Queen  Regent], Ka’a-hu-ma-nu.   That  fall,  Liholiho was forced to agree to the abandonment of the native  religion: the lifting of the ka pu.
    Five months later, the first contingent of Christian missionaries arrived.   It was a death sentence to the 3000 year old Ka naka Ma oli [true people] culture   in   Hawai’i. 
    Lehua lia kahu’ama lio’aka lani pa’aka lo le [Lehua, the shiny haired questioner], the fictitious young noblewoman of this novel, comes of age at this trying moment in Hawaiian history. Her ancestry gives her the right, responsibility and ability to be her people’s leader, but with the lifting of the kapu, she is suddenly bereft of her divine reason to be.
    Beset by doubt, alien temptations and a welter of rational, if frightening, options, she falls in love with a half-Hawaiian paniolo [cowboy] who, in rescuing her from kidnappers, takes her on a romantic Hawaiian road trip.
    Together, they confront an uncertain future astride the divergent forces that will ultimately doom her culture.
    In 1893 local American businessmen  overthrew  the  Republic  of  Hawai’i and traded the Islands to the U. S.

Lehua
Ka’ao a Ka Wahine
The Romance of an
Hawaiian Girl.

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A Lehua Novel

This coming-of-age novel is the first in a series
that will chronicle
Lehua’s life as
she awakens to womanhood
and as a leader of her people.
Successive books will trace her
voyage during the tumult of 19th
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We've come to expect that a pro knows what he/she is doing.  How come so many don't quite make it?  It's not always so humorous as it is in the first story in this collection.
You probably know some of these people!

Good Story, Well Written, Recommend, Very Well Edited
I must admit to having some worries when I first opened this book with its Hawaiian words introduced regularly. I needn't have worried for, in no time at all, I had accepted the words and was thinking in them, just like the characters.

As a "haole", and English at that, it was fascinating to see our (ancient) culture described from another's perspective. I had never thought seriously of how our ancestors had destroyed a rich culture in favour of its own, something we had done (of course) in many other areas of the world.

The story is a delight. Gentle, thoughtful and explores the deep differences between cultures and the clash that occurred when they met. It also explores some of the truths about humans, whatever their ancestry - the struggle for power or glory or both and the lengths that people go to to keep their position within a society.

The story is also a love story with nuances and I will not spoil the story by telling of them.

The characters are well drawn and mostly believable. I would have liked a little more knowledge of the personalities of the main character's family...but otherwise I found the book a good counter to the many violent...books that seem to fill the shelves.
I really enjoyed the book and was sorry when I had finished.
Paul Smith, Wise Grey Owl Publishing, UK,

"Descendants" was a George Clooney film that captured the interest of people when it dealt with the concept of land in Hawaii...  Gene Parola's new book takes the  reader through a period of 19th century change that radically touched the lives of
those living through momentous upheaval... (and) gives a solid understanding of what Clooney was only able to touch on in the space of his film. Cinematic in its approach, the book cries out for screen play treatment. Clooney should grab this book and start filming before another ambitious filmmaker does.
Ray Pace, Editor
Honolulu Arts Beat
      

I found Lehua  to be very interesting and enjoyable. The author has a good grasp of the Hawaiian people's predicament at that crucial time in their history.  As a part Hawaiian, with some knowledge of Hawaiian history, I could relate to the storyline and to the events, as they occurred.
       Mr. Parola paints vivid pictures of Kauai's landscapes and terrain, also of the ocean channels, and of the harbors and bays filled with wa'a and sailing ships. The historical content was spot on, as was the portrayal of Hawaiian culture and the characters in the story.
William Coelho
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'Lehua won the 'Best Historical Novel' award in a national competition hosted by AuthorStand, Dec. 2012.'
Aloha.  Welcome to Hawaiian culture and literature.  You don’t have to plan a Hawaiian wedding, just snorkel over and take a look at Kauai and Molokai in "Lehua".  Maui and Oahu are only mentioned in this luau of a story of hula and kahuna, but there is much aloha in it.
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REVIEWS

4.0 out of 5 stars
A Romantic Historical Narrative May 28, 2013
By Lehua Parker
Lehua, Ka`ao a ka Wahine, by Gene J. Parola combines historical narrative with forbidden romance to paint a portrait of life in Hawai`i circa 1819, just as Queen Ka`ahumanu lifts the kapu, essentially abolishing the ancient Hawaiian religion and turning the caste system on its head. It's a period of Hawaiian history that is often glossed over as teachers tend to quickly move to the coming of the Christian missionaries soon after, and I appreciated a more thoughtful approach to the effect these changes had on both the ali`i and maka`ainana--chiefs and commoners alike.
As a descendant of both the white merchants and the ali`i, I remember many family conversations, arguments really, about the reasons the Hawaiian nation was eventually conquered by business interests supported by the US government and whether or not this was pono. Through Lehua's journey, I was better able to understand the different points of view.
Lehua is the first in a trilogy that follows a young ali`i woman through this turbulent time. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

4.0 out of 5 stars
Rich in history and detail December 31, 2013
By K. Westrope
This book was quite a surprise to me, as I discovered a land and time in history I had not previously explored....a time when trade and Christianity were just beginning to come to [Hawaii]. There is so much historical fact and vivid detail, the story really comes alive. Lehua, a young woman of noble blood...struggling with her knowledge of tradition and the old ways, and the desire to experience the freedom of the new ways.
If you enjoy reading about and discovering new lands and cultures, I recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars
"LEHUA" is like taking a lush journey to a Hawaii you never knew. November 9, 2013
By Teresa L. Belardes
This is a story so rich in atmosphere and ancient Hawaiian Culture, that as a reader I was struck by just ignorant I was about the culture itself and how greatly it was affected by the influx of travelers, traders and missionaries, who enveloped the Hawaiian islands in the early 1800's.
A combination of these forces mixed in strong combination...weave[s] a backdrop for a romance between Lehua, a sheltered, but insightful young [noble] wahine (woman) and a paniolo (cowboy).
This story, the first in a trilogy, is a lush garden...with memorable characters, historically accurate events and a treasure chest of Hawaiian history, lore, language, religion, politics and culture. 
This was a pleasure of a page turner for me and I am looking forward to the next two parts of Lehua's very intriguing saga.

This review is from: Lehua-Ka'ao a Ka Wahine [Lehua-the story of a Woman] (The Lehua Books)
By Travis Bundtzen
This story invites the reader into a world rarely discussed and often overlooked. As a teacher the possibilities for this book in the classroom are endless. Hawaiian studies, government policy, immigration, emigration, assimilation, and general cross cultural communication studies can all embrace this book. Use it as a thought provoking talking point or the center of a book study. For those of us outside of the classroom this story is a general good read. The writing is graceful and draws you through a coming of age story that is hard to put down. It is especially tasty for those who enjoy a well researched historical fiction.

Highly recommend it!