Published by OakTara Publishers, 2011.
Set in Hana, Maui, this compelling literary novel is a poignant journey that unravels T.S. Eliot’s “permanent questions” – what is goodness, truth, and love?
- Honorable Mention awarded by Reader Views, Humanities category
- Honorable Mention in the 2011 San Francisco Book Festival, General Fiction
- Honorable Mention in the 2011 Beach Book Festival, General Fiction
- Honorable Mention in the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival
Old Nani-lei lives in Hana-lani, her family home in rural Hawaii. She looks after her grandson Henry, 52, and his daughter Lucy, 6, who have returned to Maui from Berkeley after the death of Maria, Henry’s wife. Henry and Maria, both professors, had been working on A History of Ethics, and now the grieving Henry struggles to finish it.
City girl Meredith Campbell, 36, fast-paced, self-centered, and beautiful, believes her body will ensure her happiness. After losing her job and finding her lover unfaithful, she flies to Maui, sure he will follow… but her plane crashes near Hana-lani.
As their worlds collide in a natural world both beautiful and dangerous, Henry will be forced to act on his words, and Meredith will come face-to-face with her own life choices.
From Readers Views
Hana-lani is a beautifully written story. Losing her job and discovering that her boyfriend is unfaithful, Meredith Campbell decides to leave city life for an idyllic vacation on Maui. This is a vacation that she thinks will have others looking to
pamper and cater to her every whim. She also hopes that her absence might make her errant boyfriend come running back to reunite with her. Being in a beautiful place that will also allow her to show off her gorgeous physical assets, she thinks that everything should go off without a hitch. For Meredith, beauty is all about what is on the outside. Read Reader Views’ review of Hana-lani.
Sexy, sweet, and touching are three words I’d use to describe the fantastic novel,Hana-lani, by the talented author Christine Sunderland. There is a definite theme of hope and the possibility for redemption that runs through the novel, but Hana-lani’s tone never gets heavy. Reading it is like breathing in a fresh breath of island air, and its depiction of rural Hawaiian life in Hana- lani, the old family home of one of the novel’s main characters, old Nani Lei, is guaranteed to lift your spirits and brighten your day Read BestSellersWorld’s review of Hana-lani.
From Feathered Quill Book Reviews
Meredith is an exceptionally beautiful woman used to having fun and getting attention. When she loses her job because she is too interested in fashion and her boyfriend, and then that same boyfriend cheats on her, Meredith decides to get away from it all in Hawaii. Her trip to Maui, however, does not go exactly as she had planned and ends up changing her life Read Feathered Quill’s Review of Hana-lani.
From ForeWord Reviews
Christine Sunderland deftly illustrates universal truths about love, healing, culture, and family as she whisks readers away to the exotic setting of Hana, Hawaii, in her poignant new novel, Hana-lani, her fourth book from OakTara. Read ForeWord’s review of Hana-lani.
From Susan Prudhomme, Author of Ambrose and The Forest
Visit Susan at www.SusanPrudhomme.com
“Highly satisfying… sensitively written…”
In Hana-Lani, Christine Sunderland serves up a compelling medley of characters – four very different lives entwined by unexpected circumstances – all set within the unpredictable embrace of Hawaii itself.
Ancient Nani-lei, wise matriarch of Hana, keeps the old family home of Hana-lani with all its history and cultural traditions. The bookish Henry, her adopted grandson, has returned from Berkeley after the death of his beloved wife, Maria, bringing with him their six-year-old hearing-impaired daughter, Lucy. As Henry has buried himself in grief, trying to finish the scholarly work he and Maria had intended to produce together, old Nani pours her ample love on both him and Lucy, but she is coming to the end of her strength and Henry does not seem to notice either her growing weakness or his daughter’s need for him – only his own grief.
Into this stalemate, an unlikely change-agent literally drops from the sky. Meredith Campbell is, according to San Francisco magazine, “one of the most eligible women in town.” Stunningly beautiful and committed to taking care of Number One, her life is centered around smug pleasure-seeking and captivating handsome, wealthy men. When her most recent lover leaves her, she flies to Hawaii and, through a series of mishaps with the capricious Hawaiian weather, survives a small plane crash near Nani-lei’s home and is taken in by the old lady, who undertakes to nurse her back to health.
In the weeks that follow, each of these characters influences, and is influenced by, the others, and as they grow and change, issues of faith and faithfulness, family, love, and self-sacrifice are explored. I found myself pondering the role of suffering and sacrifice in human spiritual growth, and it seemed to me that Hawaii itself, with its expected pleasures and shockingly unexpected dangers, presented a metaphor for the God Who guides our lives and knows the right mix of both enjoyment and trauma for each of us to achieve the maturity He wants for us.
Hana-lani is highly satisfying as a story, giving us full characters who struggle, each in his own way, through challenging circumstances. It is also satisfying on a spiritual level, bringing the deep questions of permanent values into the relationships and experiences of fallible and often wrong-headed people. I would recommend Hana-lani to anyone who will enjoy a sensitively written contemporary story that packs a profound spiritual punch.