Author: Rebecca Addison
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Goodreads Synopsis: The first book in the ‘Ohana Series by Rebecca Addison.
On a small island in Hawaii, twenty-eight-year-old Kai is contemplating his life.
He’s a talented singer-songwriter, stuck playing other people’s music for tourists at the local bar. With his own songs and with that voice, he has the potential to be the next big thing. But as much as he lives and breathes to play music, Kai knows he will never leave the island to pursue his dream.
On an old bus rumbling along a winding road, a girl named Tessa looks out the window. She sees frog-green plants clinging to the side of sheer cliffs, snatches of a bright blue sea. She’s come to Hawaii to reconnect with the only person who really knows her. And to escape. She’s a winged seed on the breeze, never settling long enough to grow and put down roots.
In her second novel, Rebecca Addison tells a soul-stirring story about family loyalty, love and loss, long-held secrets and the chance for new beginnings.
I was kindly provided the arc by the author for my honest opinion. One of my new years resolution was to read more indie authors, and luckily this book fits the criteria. I’m trying to read different genres, instead of sticking with the same old genre.
The ‘Ohana Tree begins with Kai, an inspiring musician that constantly puts his family’s needs above his own. Kai’s father and brother rely on him on just about everything. Kai dreams of leaving the island and pursuing his dream. Kai is stuck on the island and he doesn’t believe that he’ll ever leave.
Perhaps that was the problem. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to me. I was still young, my body strong and my head full of dreams and ideas. But I felt old, and my world grew smaller and smaller each passing year. There were expectations. That I would stay on the island. That I would look after our land. That I would watch over my family.
One day he meets Tessa, an equally gifted musician who constantly travels. Kai is immediately captivated by Tessa, especially her music.
She was free, spontaneous, curious and independent. It made me happy. But it felt risky, too. I knew that I was in a dangerous waters with Tess. There was a real chance that she was going to give me a glimpse of a a magical, high definition version of my life, only to leave me to live out the one I had instead.
Tessa is a girl who doesn’t want to fall in love because she has many failed relationships. Tessa is attracted to Kai as well, but she knows that she’ll end up hurting him if they start a relationship. Tessa decides to push Kai away, but Kai never gives up on her. Kai and Tessa manage to form a relationship even though both protagonists have tragic backstories.
I haven’t read in a male point of view in such a long time, so it was a refreshing change. As for the characters, I really liked them equally, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would be Kai. Kai was the perfect boyfriend to Tessa. He hardly has any faults. He sacrifices his needs and puts others above him. Kai loves his ‘ohana more than anything. Though Tess wants to keep her privacy, Kai never gives up on her. Both characters bring out the best in each other. Tess made Kai feel that anything was possible, especially leaving the island behind. While Kai helped changed Tess’ perspective on love and family. Kai and Tess’ relationship is really stable, though there were some moments that they bickered.
The secondary characters were just as great. I felt sad for Kai’s father. Though Kai never had a loving relationship with his father, his father cared deeply for him. Tess saw another side to Kai’s father that Kai was not seeing.
Why do you do that?
Make it sound like he’s this callous, evil man. You don’t have to thank me for hanging out with him, Kai. I like him and I like spending time up there.
Akamu (Kai’s younger brother) is very supportive of Kai’s relationship with Tess. There were many funny interactions with Akamu being a third wheel.
Before I started reading The ‘Ohana Tree, I didn’t know what to expect. After reading the first book, I was amazed at how emotionally invested I was with the characters and their situations. Also, this book had several steamy moments. I really enjoyed reading The ‘Ohana Tree and I can’t wait for the sequel. This book felt more like something I would take on the beach, and it’s set in Hawaii.
My favorite quote:
Ohana isn’t just your blood, Tess. It’s the family you choose for yourself. Family isn’t just the people who made you; it’s the people who love you.
Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️