By: Justina Taft
"After Dawn" by Justina Taft is a beautifully executed paranormal romance set in Hawaii. But not the island paradise of postcards and Hollywood. This is refreshing view into the lives of everyday people in everyday Hawaii.
Yes, in comparison to the frozen parts of the world, Hawaii seems like a paradise. In fact, Hawaii is a paradise. It has idyllic weather most of the year. It has warm beautiful beaches, amazing hikes featuring incredible vistas... a perfect tourist getaway. I love my island home. And yes... there is a bit of surfing and there are hot muscular guys in the ocean in this book... it IS Hawaii after all... But the main character is a girl who canʻt surf!!! And I thought everyone in Hawaii surfed! Whaaat?
There is also real life modern Hawaii. Drugs and gang violence. Bad politics and homelessness. Taxes and Traffic. While this book doesn't delve into any of that, it is surrounded by the hustle and bustle that is the reality of Hawaii. It deals with real life struggles. That is the Hawaii I grew up in and that is the Hawaii that this book is based in. "After Dawn" is a refreshing read. It is a reminder that real life happens everywhere. Death and love. Marriage and Divorce. The search for ones identity... Taft brings it all into this book located on a beautiful rock in the middle of the pacific.
And then there is the spiritual Hawaii. This modern book is drenched in the dream and spirit world of Hawaii. Taft weaves her love story into the spirit of this tale in more ways than one. The Hawaiian mindset can be a duality... The people struggle with what it means to be Hawaiian. They struggle with not fully knowing their own culture because of being down-trodden and of own self-neglect that started a few hundred years before this book ever came to be. It is only within the last few decades... since the late Seventies maybe... that a cultural revolution has been slowly unfurling. Hawaiians can now learn their language in school - since most families have long lost the ability. Hawaiian can seek ways to immerse and fully understand what it means to be Hawaiian in this modern world. Taft explores these topics almost from the beginning of her book. There is an undercurrent of something lost - then found - throughout her story.
|Justina Taft - Author of "After Dawn"|
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