From the cauldron of controversy that is Hawaiian history emerged Wai-nani, a reflection of the personage of the great chiefess Ka’ahumanu. Like all islanders she was a water baby who found pleasure, sustenance, solace, wisdom, and courage in the grand and vibrant sea. She was born 15 years prior to the landing of Captain Cook in Kealakekua in 1779 and was the favorite wife of Makaha, a fierce warrior modeled after Kamehameha the Great.

Hawaiian women enjoyed sports, were trained in the martial arts, played active roles in decision making, and participated in wars. They communed with the gods through hula and ritualistic ceremonies. Ka’ahumanu swam miles each day, and it is reasonable to believe she would have made friends in the ocean. Wai-nani‘s bond with Eku, a playful and communicative dolphin, propels her on a mythological journey couched in magical realism. Wai-nani is a celebration of the Hawaiian people of old – especially the powerful Ka’ahumanu, forerunner to the modern woman.

Honorable Mention, 2015 Readers’ Favorite Awards, Fiction-Historical-Personage category.