Author: Ilima Todd
Genres: General Historical, Historical Romance
Format: Audio, eBook, Print
Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Inspired by a true story
Hawaiian Islands, 1779
As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaii, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.
But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.
Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him dies, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.
John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with Maile’s homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.
When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.
I wasn’t at all sure I would like this book but decided to give it a shot. Glad I did. I was fascinated by the history in it. I loved learning about the native’s beliefs and how very different and hard to understand it would be for the English. And how foreign the English ways would be to the Hawaiians. And it was interesting to learn how they navigated without tools outside of a true understanding of nature. And I loved that the book is inspired by a true story.
I had some strong emotions during my reading. One summer I went on a whale watching tour which was awesome except for getting extremely seasick and because I couldn’t just get off the boat out in the middle of the ocean I began to feel the anxiety of claustrophobia. I was so anxious to get out of the ocean even if the whales were fascinating. My anxiety overrode the wonder of it all. So when Maile has John get out of the boat in the middle of the ocean and tread water by himself for an hour I was feeling totally panicked. All that anxiety came back. How could John do it? I felt every wave and the panic that went with it. He was awed by the close up whale watching experience. I felt terror reading it.
Aside from my irrational fears while reading a book, the imagery of the Island was beautiful and made me desire to go there and see it myself. I want to go walk on the beach and swim in the lagoon. I want to see the plants and eat the food and know the people
I liked Ikaika and the relationship he had with Maile so I was sad at his death. But I also really liked John and his kind and tender heart so I was able to root for his relationship with Maile too. I loved that he sought to understand not just the language of Maile’s people but also to truly understand their culture. And he saw the beauty in it.
I loved that Maile was strong and brave. She wasn’t afraid to learn what was not traditionally women’s work and was even brave enough to go to battle. And she was a strategic thinker and not afraid to offer her thoughts to her father and others. Definitely a feminist. Sometimes they even listened to her ideas.
I want to hear more of their story. Did Maile ever travel with John? Did he ever take her to England? Did he teach her English and to read and write? Or was there just never any need to do so? Did she ever get to read his journals? Did they deal with negatives for having an interracial marriage or was it respected by the people? Did John become a farmer or just part of the royal family? They say a sign of a good book is that it is too short and since I wanted their story to continue I had to give this one 5 stars.
My one negative was that I’m not a fan of first person present tense. I get used to it after a while but it isn’t my fav.
Violence: yes. war battles.