Synopsis: Twenty-four year old Lily Walsh has been raised in a remote Asian village where women are second-class citizens, but goes to visit her brother in Hawaii for three months. Mere days after her arrival, Jeff is called away on business and Lily is to stay with the Kapaia family at their resort until he can return. Lily has a difficult time adjusting to this new culture and also finds herself falling in love with Gabe, Jeff’s best friend.
Author: Lori Wick is a renowned inspirational fiction writer. Her stories are set in various time periods from historical to contemporary, and often include a romantic element. She has approximately fifty novels in print through Harvest House Publishers.
Writing Style: Lori Wick uses a fish-out-of-water scenerio, but does it in a way that is meaningful rather than take it to humorous extremes. It allows the reader to consider what it would actually be like to move to a foreign country with different practices and languages. It also illuminates how we North Americans take for granted all our advantages, such as running water or even sun block and bubble gum.
Location: Part of the novel takes place in Kashien where women are subservient, always keeping their eyes lowered, keeping silent, dressing conservatively, and walking ten paces behind the men. The other portion of the novel takes place in Hawaii where females can speak and act on equal terms with men.
Character Development: Lily was raised in a culture where women are considered a second-class citizen. She arrives in America and struggles with learning that women are equal to men, and that she is just as important as anyone else. Lily gradually learns that she does not need to suffer in silence, but can speak out and share her feelings because she is valued as a person.
Theme: One of the ideas behind this story is that we must all be held accountable. Pastor Owen is the Christian leader in Kashien and helps lead others to God’s word, but fails to see his own sins while constantly finding fault in others.
Character: Evan is Gabe’s brother-in-law, and is the epitome of a family man. He is considerate to his wife, and shows his children by example what it is to be a good person. Whenever the children misbehave he takes the child to a different room to discuss the problem, never embarrassing them in front of others.
Romance: Gabe and Lily knew of each other through Jeff, but soon care for each other during Lily’s stay. Their budding relationship grows through caring, conversing, and prayer. The physical side of their relationship never goes beyond handholding and the occasional kiss, not just because of cultural differences but also because of religious belief.
Secondary characters Evan and Bailey have been married for years and realize they have become “lazy” with their relationship. It reminds the reader that marriage is not just happily-ever-after but a relationship that needs to be worked on through compromise, dialogue, personal time, and keeping faith.
Point of Interest: Lily tries to explain to Ana the relationship between God and humanity. She compares God’s right in asking us to be obedient followers to a sculpture’s right in asking a lump of clay to conform into a bowl.
Memorable Moment: I had read this book years ago and the scene that has stuck with me the most is a telephone conversation between Lily and her father. Mr Walsh allowed Lily to go to Hawaii for the purpose of learning new things and when she accidentally dented golf cart, her father said she shamed him and made her promise not to eat until she learns to golf.
Do It Yourself: When Lily was feeling discouraged her friend Wang Ho asked where she was a year ago and what she had now; he reminds her that in one year she will have still more blessings. So when struggling through a tough time, just think of the blessings you have received in the past year, and know that in the year to come you will obtain more.
Quote: For years, whenever any of his siblings teased him about getting married, he would say that he would marry the first woman he found who knew what “perspicacity” meant.
The Verdict: I love Lori Wick novels, and this is one of the few stand-alone novels she has written. This book had been on my mind lately, so I picked it up from the library on a whim. I found that I enjoyed the novel just as much as I did reading it the first time, and believe it can open your eyes to something new every time you crack the cover.