Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Beau Toyama, biplane pilot and flight instructor on the Big Island of Hawai’i has only been out for a year. His last relationship with a man was a disaster. When he meets Matt Quintal, who’s visiting his sister, he’s stunned by the instant attraction to him. But Beau’s afraid to ask for what he needs in a relationship; his anger frightens him. The “mixed plate” Hawaiian/Japanese/Tahitian man works on being Zen calm but Matt brings all his emotions to the surface. It uncovers a devastating secret from his childhood and deep shame that needs healing.
Matt Quintal, New Zealand painter has been living the wild gay life in LA. After one more night of soulless mechanical sex where his body is engaged but his emotions aren’t—he knows he needs a change. His sister wants him to come to Hawai’i for a visit; another big rock in the middle of the Pacific doesn’t seem like a solution but he has to do something. When he flies with Beau in his biplane, he feels a strong pull toward both man and plane that he can neither explain nor deny.
Matt’s a New Zealander, they’re encouraged to be tough, rugged and durable. He is, but he’s emotionally a wreck, afraid to show his emotions, so he’s surprised when Beau encourages him to be all of himself. Has he finally found the freedom to be the man he wants to be? The heat between the two men is like watching Pele let her hair down, releasing her hot, molten lava. Will the gorgeous Hawaiian with his long silky black hair and soulful brown eyes finally convince the gypsy nature in Matt to put down roots in another island culture?
First of all, let me say that if you can embrace or accept the possibility of the element of mysticism, that your ancestors in other planes of existence are looking after you, that Astrology is real as is the ability to chart patterns in your life, then you will dive into this story with all your heart. Hawaiian Lei with its characters Matt and Beau and their mixed heritages of Maori, Hawaiian, Tahitian, Japanese and more anchor this novel with their cultures, religions, their ancestral support and faith. Here you step firmly away from the Christian religious beliefs and into one of the Pacific cultures and it’s beautiful. And ugly and in the end full of redemption, hope, love and family. It’s quite the journey.
Matt’s life is empty in California, A dream and a call from his sister in Hawaii prompt his flight (literally) to her and something new. Rach, his sister, is adept at reading their charts and she knew he would be coming, his dream was the final push to send him on his way. Once you land with Matt, give up and immerse yourself in their world where paths can be seen, owls and turtles are totems and their appearances are significant, and a quick meeting between two men does mean true love. Its both magical and mundane and it totally works. Its natural for everyone here to live in this way, so in tune with each other and nature that you will believe in it with your heart.
There are also some dark issues that Beau has to work through, he does with Matt’s help and that of a sacred healing ritual, Lomi Lomi, that plays out here. The novel is full of terms from the various Pacific cultures represented here (it’s fascinating to see how tightly they are aligned). There is also a small dictionary at the end that’s nice but the reader will pick up all the meanings in the story.
Hawaiian Lei is lush, vivid storytelling, rich in layers, nuanced characters (main and otherwise). It speaks of family, recovery, and the ability to move forward after healing. It has a heartwarming ending, full of elements that brings together so many threads from throughout the story. I just loved this. And I highly recommend it.
Cover Artist:Syneca Featherstone. The cover art is beautiful and perfect. I love it.
Kindle Edition, 231 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Loose Id LLC
Original TitleHawaiian Lei
Series The Hawaiians #1