Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family, whether by blood or by circumstance, is the tale of Dyson Nicks, a graduate student from Montana. Just weeks removed from losing his parents in a tragic car accident, Dyson Nicks decides to take himself as far away from home as he can for the holiday season.
What was supposed to be a retreat to Oahu soon turns ugly as within minutes of arriving, he is initiated into the unseen side of Hawaii. Theft, violence, and territorialism that mark the flip side of paradise, the side most people refuse to believe exists.
Through time, will, and pure dumb luck, Dyson serves to carve out his own niche within the island community. With the aid of Mahana, a local girl hiding from a past just as scarred as his own, he begins to find his way forward again. Through the kindness and generosity of strangers, he discovers the true meaning of ohana and how it comes to define Hawaiian life.
This was the first of what Im sure will be several novels set in the islands, sprung from the combined urgings of many readers to (a) bring Hawaii to life for them and (b) write something romantic. While this is nowhere near a bodice ripping Harlequin novel, it does delve into the role that a new love interest can play in the healing process.
As w/ most novels, many people have asked how much, if any, of this story is autobiographical. The love interest angle is entirely fiction, though otherwise a large amount of the story holds true to my first few weeks in Hawaii. Which parts exactly I won't say, but a large number for sure…