Kuhina Nui by Rosemary I. Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Readers of my historical novel, Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawaii, that ends in 1819 with the burning of the Hawaiian gods often ask me when I am going to write a sequel. The answer is never. Rosemary Patterson has already done it in a much more informed way than I ever could. Kuhina Nui follows the life of Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great from 1820 to 1832. The story is told through the eyes of a half Hawaiian young man who serendipitously becomes the guardian of a bag lady Ka’ahumanu has chosen to be the voice for her story. Much aligned Ka’ahumanu is blamed for paving the way for missionaries who manipulated lands away from native Hawaiians and systematically tired to destroy their culture. To some she is remembered as the “loving mother of the people” who brought the end to the harsh kapu system, and to others she is the “flaw that brought down the chiefdom.” The aftermath of her actions two hundred years ago is still in play today. Ms. Patterson has gone where I feared to tread. This is an informative account cloaked in a young adult historical format with a time-travel twist. If you don’t mind tripping over a typo or two you will learn a lot and have fun too.
Linda Ballou, author of Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii
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