Heart Of The Liliko’i by Dena Hankins

heart-of-the-lilikoi

To listen to our interview with Dena, and get links to her work, click here!

REVIEW

This book was a revelation. At once a murder mystery and an intensely erotic romance, Hankin’s writing is as rich and fragrant as the Hawaiin setting in which the book is based. Sometimes there can be too much earnestness or preaching in books that have an eco message, but not this one. She gets her point across without self-righteousness, and without compromising on the likeability of her characters.

Kerala is described in the synopsis as a butch dyke, which might scare some people off, but she is a strong woman with a tender side that hasn’t quite been able to bury. Ravi is the genderqueer CEO who takes the handsome millionaire businessman trope and turns it upside down. Every character is colourful and complex, yet despite the dramatic subject, there is no showboating or unrealistic plot twists.

It’s clear that Hankins loves Hawaii and knows it well. Her writing perfectly captures the vivid colours and culture of the indigenous people. I want to go there. It reads far better than any tourist brochure, without the trite or manipulative descriptions.

At it’s heart is a romance, pure and simple, yet the two protagonists, Kerala and Ravi, are anything but. Cultures clash, gender issues have to be dealt with and are done so convincingly, woven so seemlessly into the story that it barely seems an “issue” at all. I totally bought into these two people falling in love despite the difficulties they face, both in their professional and personal lives. Oh, and the sex is HOT. There is a lot of it, yet it doesn’t feel gratuitous. It’s handled with an assured and confident touch.

No spoilers here, but I found the ending to be incredibly satisfying. Not too neat or schmaltzy. This book is a big chunk, and expensive for a Kindle book (down to the publishers, I think, not the writer) but it is worth every penny. There is not one wasted word. A stunningly written and riveting read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *