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Available at Amazon.com
Category: Contemporary
Date Published: December 3, 2010
Number of Pages: 188
Print Price: $15.03
eBook Price: $

Hana-Lani is another beautifully written book by Christine Sunderland, although I wouldn’t characterize this one specifically as “Catholic Fiction.”

First, the synopsis: Hana-Lani is the name of the family home in Hawaii of Nani-lei, a native Hawaiian, her grandson, Henry, 52 and his hearing-impaired daughter, Lucy, 6. Henry and Lucy have recently returned to Maui from California after the tragic death of Maria, wife and mother, and Nani’s granddaughter.  Henry and Maria were both professors and had been working together for years on a research/writing project entitled “A History of Ethics.”  Henry, still grieving, struggles to complete the book.

Enter Meredith Campbell, a beautiful, self-centered, manipulative young woman who, after losing her job and discovering that her lover has been unfaithful, flies to Maui, certain that her lover will follow.  However, her plane crashes near Hana-Lani. Meredith survives the crash and, given the crowded condition of the local hospital, Nani-lei agrees to allow the young woman to recuperate at Hana-Lani.  Meredith bides her time, anxious to return to the mainland.

At first, Henry is abrupt and obnoxious toward Meredith. He makes no secret of the fact that he would like her to leave.  When Meredith is well enough, Nani asks the young woman to spend time with Lucy and to read to her. At first, Meredith has her own self-centered motivation for wanting to spend time with the child.  The story has a compelling climax and an unexpected ending.

What I especially appreciated about this book was Sunderland’s beautiful, lyrical writing style and the relevant themes of healing and redemption.  There is no doubt that Sunderland can tell a story well and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her other novels. 

Her lush, detailed descriptions of the Hawaiian setting made me feel like I was in Maui.  As characters, Nani, Lucy and Meredith were extremely well-developed and believable. However, Henry’s character seemed too one-dimensional. He went from abrupt and cold to romantic and loving far too quickly for me.

While I don’t mind when an author shows sexual tension, there were scenes of pre-marital sex that were a little too detailed for my tastes.  And, as I indicated previously, I don’t think this novel would be considered “Catholic Fiction.” In fact, there were a few anti-Catholic sentiments expressed by at least one of the characters. This surprised me, given Sunderland’s other novels.

Overall, though, I would recommend this as a compelling, entertaining read for adults.  It isn’t my favorite of Sunderland’s books, but definitely worth the read.

ISBN-13: 978-1602902602
Original Language: English
Book Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.4 inches

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Ellen Gable Hrkach is an award-winning, bestselling author of five books. Her recently released novel, A Subtle Grace, is currently in the top ten of Religious Drama on Kindle. Her third novel, Stealing Jenny, was #1 on Amazon Kindle in Religious Drama for two months and has been in the top ten of that category since November 2011 with nearly 240,000 downloads.  Her second novel, In Name Only ,was awarded the Gold Medal in Religious Fiction at the 2010 IPPY Awards and has also been an Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller in Religious Drama. She is currently the President of the Catholic Writers Guild, a columnist for Amazing CatechistsCatholicMom.com and various magazines and websites. She and her husband own a small Catholic publishing company which publishes “edgy Catholic fiction.” She blogs at Plot Line and Sinker. When she’s not writing or reading on her Kindle, Ellen enjoys watching classic movies and playing board games with her family. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in the country outside of Pakenham, Ontario, Canada with her husband and sons. Contact her at: fullquiverpublishing(at)gmail.com.

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