When Laney Carrigan’s adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God's love.
Along the path to her true heritage, she meets Hawaiian cowboy/helicopter pilot, Kai Barnes. Kai is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family against a woman he suspects of being nothing more than a gold-digger, but he finds himself drawn to Laney in spite of his reservations. He's spent his entire life seeking forgiveness from past mistakes and longs for a second chance at happiness.
Laney’s painstaking journey to find restoration and a place to belong among the breathtaking allure of the Big Island will lead her closer to her past and maybe even something more.
A strength of the Quilts of Love series is the uniqueness of each quilt, the meaning behind it, and the love of family it symbolizes. In Aloha Rose (Abingdon Press), Lisa Carter uses the beautiful Lokelani quilt to guide Laney to her birth family in Hawaii, and blends exotic setting with appealing storyline to create an interesting read overall.
Lisa very effectively conveyed the setting and flavor of Hawaii through such images as erupting volcano, rain forest, rainbow, waterfalls, dancing the hula. (See Lisa's Aloha Rose Pinterest board for some great pictures.) I was also drawn to the secondary characters of Laney's family and they way they supported each other - welcoming Laney unreservedly, making a memory book of major events and people for Laney's grandmother who had Alzheimers, Teah passing on a family tradition by teaching Laney to quilt.
Several characters are introduced at the beginning, which was a little confusing, but they quickly become familiar and the narrative really picks up about halfway through, along with a couple of surprise twists that readers will love.
Kai suffers from PTSD, and both he and Laney have emotional issues that they have worked to hide. Teah points out to Laney: "You and Kai are a lot alike. High walls. Self-protective barriers between you and the rest of the world."
The main negative for me was that, while Laney and Kai have great chemistry from the very beginning, their romance was my least favorite part, as I missed seeing their relationship move beyond surface attraction to a deeper level. And I'd like to see less character monologues where they keep mulling over their thoughts. Still, Aloha Rose is a good read overall and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. I loved the heartwarming ending and think this is a novel many inspirational romance fans will enjoy.
Behind the story . . .
"I had a dear college friend who, although with wonderful adoptive parents, spoke of her curiosity concerning her birth family. We were in each other's weddings; got busy raising families; moved away; but twenty years later reunited. And she shared with me a bittersweet tale of love come full circle when she found her birth father in the exotic Hawaiian Islands. We laughed and cried together. Knowing I was a writer, she told me it was a great story if she did say so herself and gave me permission to fictionalize it.
"I think like a lot of us, Laney and Kai are on a journey, a quest. Seeking a place to belong, a connection. The Hawaiians call it, a huaka'i. A journey that requires truth, heart and extraordinary courage. The kind of courage Laney and my friend displayed in traveling the world to find a family. The kind of courage required of those who seek God. The courage intrinsic to all to desire a place to belong and someone to love."
To learn more about Lisa and her books, visit her website at lisacarterauthor.com and the Litfuse blog tour post.
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.