Friday, December 19, 2008

Linda Ballou's Hawaiian Novel





Linda Ballou


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ISBN 10: 1-932993-88-6

ISBN 13: 978-1-932993-88-2



280 pages

Linda gives a brief description of the story.

Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai’i – Her Epic Journey is an historical novel couched in magical realism set in pre-contact Hawai’i. Wai-nani’s character is inspired by the personage of Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great, who was responsible for ending the 2,000-year-old Polynesian “kapu system.” The turbulent romance of these Hawaiian icons is set against the backdrop of Hawai’i’s most dynamic period between 1740 and 1820. Captain James Cook arrived in 1778. Cook’s visit triggered change that facilitated forces already set in play by Kamehameha (Makaha), the warrior prophesied at birth to bring the splintered Island people under one rule. Precocious Ka’ahumanu, always the center of controversy, is revered by some as the loving “Mother of the people” and by others as the “flaw that brought down chiefdom.”

Wai-nani embodies all that was good in ancient Polynesian society. Athletic, assertive, and brave she stands beside her warrior-king husband sharingin his joys and sorrows for forty years. Like all Hawai’ians, she is a water baby—finding strength, solace and wisdom in the sea. Her greatest pleasure isswimming with her wild dolphin friend, Eku. Throughout her life, she rails againstthe “kapu system” that calls for human sacrifices, separate eating-houses formen and women, and severe penalties for the slightest infractions of lawsimposed upon the common people by ruling chiefs and priests vested with thepower of gods.

My research included living on Kauai for a year, extensive reading andmany subsequent visits to the Islands to walk in the footsteps of the ancients. Ihave come to know the rich poetic expression of a sensual people inspired by thebeauty of their natural surroundings. Even though the old Hawai’ians were agenerous people they were also fierce and given to tribal wars. Inbreedingamong royals was encouraged and resulted in a statuesque, handsome race ofgiants. They had a distinct class system assigned by bloodline. Commonerstended to the land, fished and provided for the high chiefs and their courts. Wai-nani shows us that even though many have called the ways of long ago harsh, even savage, the beauty of the land and the mighty ocean washed through the hearts and minds of the ancients who were a deeply spiritual people.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Nancy.

    This sounds like the type of historical novel I would love to read. Good Luck, Linda.