Wai-Nani

A Voice From Old Hawaii

Fiction - Historical - Personage
284 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer and author of, Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i- fabled historical fiction inspired by the tumultuous love affair of Kamehameha the Great and his favorite wife Ka’ahumanu. Follow Wai-nani as she lives, loves, swims with the dolphin and rises to become the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i. Linda is also the author of Lost Angel Walkabout - a treasury of her travel tales. You can learn more about her books and enjoy numerous travel articles at her site www.Lindaballouauthor.com.

An informative and lively speaker, Linda enjoys giving power point presentations she has created for each of her books. In “Lessons Learned from the People of Old” she takes you on a journey to sacred sites throughout the Islands. In her “Whet Your Wanderlust” talk she shares destinations in her book Lost Angel Walkabout.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite

Wai-Nani is an exciting historical drama about a Hawaiian girl from a royal family, who runs away from her family to escape an unwanted wedding. She swims to another island, and there she meets and falls in love with Makaha, who is a son of the king. How she fares in a childless marriage and tries to gain the trust of the people, despite being the daughter of a rival king, adds to the suspense and intrigue. Author Linda Ballou writes beautifully and the pages of this book are filled with such vivid descriptions of the culture and imagery of old Hawaii that the effect of the writing is believable and compelling.

Ballou includes an informative preface which explains that the protagonists are based on important historical legends, but that the book is written with creative license. Significant research by the author on what is known of the Hawaiian psyche at the time shows clearly in the book, which is very realistic. The book also depicts an account of Captain James Cook's arrival at Kealakekua Bay, how he was taken at first to be a god, and how this perception changed later on, along with an unexpected turn of events. This is followed by the arrival of Captain Vancouver, although his interaction with the Hawaiians differs considerably. These passages are written very well and, despite the tensions in the islands, there is always a fear of unknown dangers which adds to the suspense of the interactions with the Europeans.

Wai-Nani rebels against customs for the sake of her own freedom, and during the story her character retains her innocent beauty whilst adopting traits of feminine grit due to difficult circumstances. Makaha is an interesting character who is bold, skilled and brave, while at the same time having a raw greed that drives him to supreme political heights. An invigorating aspect of the book is Wai-Nani's friendship with the dolphin Eku, who becomes a solace in difficult times. The relationship of Wai-Nani with Makaha goes through a range of extremes and it is a sub plot which alternates between love, suspense, loneliness and extra-marital affairs. The emotion, suspense and adventure are written wonderfully against the natural beauty of the islands, making the book colourful, gripping and dramatic.

Christine Padovan

It's a great story that is also available as an audiobook: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Wai-nani-A-Voice-from-Old-Hawaii-Audiobook/B00VIJSE6Y/ref=a_search_c4_1_12_srTtl?qid=1433175928&sr=1-12

Lorraine Brodek

By Lorraine Holnback Brodek (Hana, Maui, HI, USA)

The rhythm of Linda Ballou's writing is sheer poetic dialogue. Her descriptions are as mystic as the ancient Hawaiian culture she so graphically describes in this wonderful story that she tells using the voice of Wai-nani (aka Ka'ahumanu, King Kamehameha's favorite wife). Chiefess Ka'ahumanu's birthplace was in a cave at Puu Kauiki in Hana--a hill that exists today in this charming town that truly evokes the beautiful spirit of old Hawaii. This is a fitting tribute to an incredible lady who was the first champion of woman's rights in the Hawaiian islands. Why do I think that she might not be pleased at having a large shopping mall named after her in Kahului, Maui? Please read this lovely book to learn more, then visit Hana and its historical sites, followed by a shopping trip to Ka'ahumanu Mall.

Christine Padovan

Honorable Mention in the Fiction-Historical-Personage category in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Award contest. Wai-nani is now Whispersync'ed with its audio version. Buy the Kindle version and add the audio for only 1.99 more: http://goo.gl/pxzIy8