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.
Ka’ao a Ka Wahine
The Romance of an
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Gene J. Parola
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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
E Komo Mai
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!
Review -- By Alex Modzelewski
Lehua-Ka'ao a Ka Wahine is great love story set in Old Hawaii of early 19th century. The heart warming romance between a Hawaiian princess and a half-blood Chinese trader is a great pick of a romance novel to read on a plane to the island vacation. It will leave the reader fully satisfied and better prepared to enjoy the islands.
But Lehua is so much more. It submerges a reader into a beautifully rendered world of Old Hawaii right at the point when it goes into the giant whirlwind of cultural revolution, mere months after the kapu based old system of beliefs is repelled but before Christianity sets itself as a dominant religion.
Gene Parola's profound knowledge of the cultural details of this period, and his lively portraying of characters, surprisingly, immersed me into the minds of a Hawaiian ali'i, Kanaka girl and a half-bred sandalwood trader. And, as I watched the dramatic events of the 19th century through their eyes, I was impressed with the fact how little social mechanisms changed over the last two hundred years.
Enslavement of the people through promoting debt, the suppression of freethinking by obligatory endless chanting and prayers, the callous disregard for commoners -- is there much difference between the Neolithic civilization, still awed by iron tools, and the oh-so modern Internet savvy citizens of modern world? Apparently not.
Given Lehua's and Ah-Tim's knowledge base, their actions are refreshingly logical and based on critical thinking. One wishes to have leaders like them today.
The book is well written and dazzles with many colorful details of the native Hawaiian life. It is richly sprinkled with Hawaiian expressions, many still in wide use. I recommend it as much for a pleasure vacation reader as for the audience more inclined to enjoy the exotic tapestry of Kanaka culture in the little publicized period just before it was irreversibly overrun by foreign influences.
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.
'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.
Award Winning Novelist