“Finding ‘Ohana”

Just last week, Cinnamin Makaiau was painting a nursery sunny yellow, picking out Hawaiian names that mean “Heaven,” and watching her wife, Naali, lovingly hold her round belly as Cinnamin expected to see her hold their baby soon. But after an accident in the middle of the night, Cinnamin instead watches as Naali goes into shock, and dies without ever holding her baby boy, leaving Cinnamin unsure of how to put back the pieces of her shattered life. She is left with in-laws who want to help her through her grief, but whose Hawaiian customs of mourning seem to mock her pain, and so Cinnamin feels no comfort from the people who want to be her family, her ‘ohana.

Meanwhile, Cinnamin cannot help but think of her own parents, who turned their backs on her when they found out the truth about her sexuality, but who had been able to console her back when life was simpler and her greatest pain was a scraped knee or a child’s cruel remark at school. Cinnamin is alone, craving comfort from those who cannot give it. So when she runs into her brother, and he suggests she marry her best (male) friend to earn her parents’ love and acceptance, Cinnamin considers it. And as she is swept away in plans for a wedding to a man she can never romantically love, Cinnamin finds herself being forced to choose between regaining her family or remaining true to her identity, as Naali once taught her to do.

Finding ‘Ohana is a 48,900-word women’s fiction novel that explores the locals’ Hawaii and the ways in which native Hawaiians adapt their ancestors’ culture.


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