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Papala Skies

97
Papala Skies
Chicago native Rochelle DuFortier likes to imagine the future, her world a series of picture postcards so vivid they sometimes seem real. When a foolish mistake at thirteen causes her mother’s death, she’s sent to a secluded Hawaiian valley, an outsider “haole-girl” among pidgin-speaking boys who hurl flaming papala spears under the full moon to summon her mother’s spirit. After boarding school and a prestigious university back east, the ambitious young woman is torn between chasing new career opportunities, discovering her mother’s heritage in a remote French village, and meeting obligations pulling her back to Hawaii.

On this island steeped in ancient mythology and modern superstition, Rochelle tests the possibility of sharing pieces of her life with those whose beliefs she barely understands and never intends to embrace. She dives the depths of a pristine coral lagoon, conceals bodies in a subterranean lava tube, and challenges the eruptions of a living volcano, even as she deciphers the truth about her mother’s death and struggles to satisfy new debts born of old betrayals.

Papala Skies is the story of a young woman who makes all the right choices, only to find herself living an unexpected life. It is about the need to belong, and seeking one’s own version of truth amid such differing cultures’ responses to wrenching loss and abiding grief. It is about yearning for a sense of place, yet having to confront new ways to honor the love of family and friends.

Will Rochelle lose what matters most, or might she learn what the smart octopus already knows?
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Ribbon Reviews for Papala Skies:
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Intriguing and Character Driven

The vivid descriptions of imagery virtually transport you to the Hawaii island, and carry you to the city of Chicago, an ivy league university, and to France.

A complex story with tragic situations and reactions. The main character, Rochelle, is faced with the challenges of getting on with her own life or helping others with their challenges. Her life does not turn out as she always thought it would.

There’s an underlying suspense surrounding how Rochelle’s mother died, and Rochelle’s guilt over her mother’s death is felt throughout most of the story. But that’s not all. There are primary forces driving chaos in her life and those she’s come to love. There’s the complexity of plots and sub-plots as Rochelle is drawn from one tragedy to another.

The characters are so well-drawn that you feel you are right there with them, wanting to help but unable to prevent the next heartbreak life throws their way. You will cry, laugh, and revel in their victories over life’s unrelenting obstacles.

I highly recommend this character-driven tale with strong relationships, as well as intrigue, action, and yes, some romance too.

Submitted by Kim Cox

 

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