I have been reading Linda Lee Chaikin novels for years, starting with her Egypt and Royal Pavilions series. Linda always weaves historical fact into her fiction so you learn at the same time as being entertained and challenged! Linda delves into Hawaiin history in the just released first instalment of The Dawn of Hawaii series, The Spoils of Eden.
Linda has gone to a lot of trouble with this spotlight ~ we hope you enjoy it and we would love your comments :)
Over to you, Linda:~
Hair length and style
Long, thick, and wavy. When she works as a nurse in tropical diseases at Kalihi Hospital in Honolulu, she wears her hair in sedate braids coiled about her head.
Eden Derrington resembles Jane Seymour, the star in the British remake of the 1950s movie East of Eden starring the late Jimmy Dean and Natalie Wood. This picture is how I imagine my own Eden Derrington appearing when she meets the man of her dreams, Rafe Easton.
Strengths and weaknesses
Eden is self-reliant, determined, and courageous, but is she allowing these strengths to detour her on a path that will rob her heart of an equally desirous relationship with the one man she has always wanted, Rafe Easton.
Eden grew up believing her mother was dead. Never suspecting her mother was a leper at the colony on the leper colony of Molokai. Her father, a physician, was away most of the time as she grew up, so involved in his search in exotic lands for a cure for the dread disease that he could become fanatical. Eden has always longed for a close father-daughter relationship to fill a misunderstood need in her heart. She chose to set out on a path of medical training that would win his respect. Now, her father has returned to Hawaii with a determination of his own, and he wants Eden involved. He plans to gain Queen Liliuokalani’s support to open a new medical clinic on the leper colony of Molokai. Eden has learned her mother is alive, a leper at the colony. Now Eden has even more reason to work with her father in medicine. But what about her engagement to Rafe Easton?
The sought after relationship with her father has placed Eden at risk of losing Rafe Easton. Rafe wants to get on with marriage and a family on his Kona coffee plantation, Hanalei, located on the Big Island.
Eden’s desire is to establish a relationship with her long absent father, Dr. Jerome is a reoccurring thematic element in the story called a “motif.” Her need for the loving, accepting “father-image,” is the cry of the lonely wounded heart for an “Abba Father.” Father. This theme also applies in other, more shadowy ways to Rafe Easton, and Eden’s cousins Zachary and Silas, who are jealous of one another and trying to win first place with their father, Townsend Derrington. The cool headed heiress, cousin Candace, feels sufficient in herself and has never missed her deceased father.
Before Eden’s eventual discovery of what is behind her genuine need to win her father’s (Dr. Jerome) acceptance, her pursuit to join him in medical work on the leper colony endangers her relationship with Rafe Easton.
Eden’s story is a trilogy so she has many adventures ahead of her. She finds in the coolly determined Rafe Easton the love of a man who is strong enough to let her seek and find the door opened to her soul. Rafe can only win Eden’s love and a respect to follow him by his allowing her the freedom of discovery, one step at a time.
The time period is the 1890s in tropical Hawaii, but Victorian style was expected of high-born women. Even so, women were stylish, feminine, and careful in their manner of dress. Eden loves to wear lace and satin, and large showy hats and gloves, but in her medical work she wears a typical uniform of the day, a long gray cotton dress that reaches to her high-button shoes, and a white pinafore apron emblazoned with a red cross.
Your inspiration for the character of Eden
Well, I’ll confess. Some of Eden’s feelings of abandonment and need came from my own earlier experiences. I was raised without an earthly father who died when I was a baby. I was the youngest of ten children and there was a lot of insecurity. The glorious hymn “Abba, Father!” sends my soul to the spiritual heights! Not only Eden, but Rafe Easton, Zachary, Silas, and Candace Derrington (Eden’s three troubled cousins in the trilogy) all have a Father need. Some of it is subtle and the reader may miss it, but it’s there. Through Christ, we now have our Father and our true Home is with Him.
Ebony, wavy, brushes the collar of his shirt, typical of the period of the 1890s.
Earthy-brown, dark lashes, slashing brows
Strong, muscled. He was a pearl diver in his youth, also a surfer with his close Hawaiian friend, Keno.
Distinctive physical characteristics
Chiseled features, and a firm jaw that speaks of his strong will.
Temperament and personality
Rafe keeps his emotional needs locked up in his heart, and his love for Eden Derrington under firm restraint.
Type of clothing he might likely wear
A loose fitting cotton shirt, usually made of light colors, a panama hat, sometimes a plantation-style jacket. Sandals when relaxing in his hut on the pineapple plantation, and boots when working the pineapple and Kona coffee plantations.
Strengths and weaknesses
Rafe Easton struggles with dislike for his stepfather, Townsend Derrington. Rafe believes that Townsend is somehow responsible for his natural father’s accidental death. Afterward, Townsend married Rafe’s mother and took possession of Hanalei, the Kona coffee plantation established by Rafe’s father. This was a bitter cup for Rafe to grow up with and he is determined to regain his father’s plantation (a strength) and protect his mother (a strength) from Townsend’s bullying spirit. He has several weaknesses: his determination can be unrelenting, and his desire for Eden Derrington to follow his dreams breeds frustration when her own plans come up against his.
Likes to stand with hands on hips, or tilts his head with a slight wry smile when Eden frustrates him.
Background to the story
Hawaii, home of the early missionaries, becomes an empire of sugar and pineapple built by their children and grandchildren. By 1892 the Treasure of the Pacific is caught in a political revolution between those supporting Queen Liliuokalani, and the new Hawaiians determined to see the Stars and Stripes waving over Iolani Palace.
Amid the looming spiritual and political crisis in Hawaii, Eden Derrington and Rafe Easton are thrust into a conflict that will forever change their beloved Hawaii and threaten to end their future marriage.
When Eden, representing the Hawaiian Board of Health at Kalihi Leper Hospital is sent to Rafe’s plantation to take baby Kip to Kalihi to quarantine him indefinitely, an emotional volcano of suspected betrayal threatens to burn their love relationship to ashes.
Someone alerted the Board that the baby Rafe had saved and brought to Honolulu, came from the Kalawao leper colony.
But the law forbids children born of lepers from being adopted. Will Kip’s future end in tragedy? And what of Eden’s and Rafe’s? When her father, Dr. Jerome, returns to open a clinic at Kalawao, Eden, her engagement to Rafe, broken, joins her father, leaving Rafe to run for the legislature to change the children’s’ law.
Historical color and background to The Spoils of Eden
"There's a call come ringing or' the restless wave--Send the light! Send the light!"
Hawaii, garden of Eden in the Pacific, home of the first missionaries who sacrificed to bring the gospel of Christ….But by the 1890s and 1900s, the children and grandchildren of those same dedicated missionaries from New England, have their hearts set on building bigger sugar and pineapple plantations and gaining power-seats in government to accomplish business ventures.
With the riches of the islands apparent to all, some visionaries see Hawaii as a future strategic territory for the United States in the Pacific. Indeed, with Pearl Harbor and a gateway to the Pacific, the island is the bright jewel
Soon a political revolution between the Hawaiians supporting their queen, and the new Hawaiians determined to see the Stars and Stripes waving over Iolani Palace is ready to erupt and end the tranquility.
Amid the looming spiritual and political crisis, Miss Eden Derrington also has many struggles in her own heart-at-war. Her decision to work with her father, Dr. Jerome Derrington, who has traveled worldwide to study leprosy, has not met with favor from the man she loves, Rafe Easton, who wishes to get on with their marriage and settle on his Kona coffee plantation. Nevertheless, Dr. Jerome sees matters differently where his daughter is concerned.
Dr. Jerome, who is medically zealous, is the primary voice for the development of new treatments for the dread “disease of no recovery” while the pitiable Molokai colony of abandoned lepers becomes his base of operation. Eden is determined to work at his side despite opposition from Rafe. Eden believes Rafe is unfair to demand she throw away her medical training. It was her lifelong goal to work with her father. She has longed for a closer relationship with her distracted father since her childhood when her mother unexpectedly, mysteriously disappeared.
Rafe Easton, Kona coffee plantation owner turned newspaperman has a falling out with Eden over risking her health among the lepers. What of their engagement to marry in the spring? He insists his concerns are rooted in the fear of risking her to the disease. He has a reason for not wanting Eden on Molokai: her mother, whom Eden believes is dead, is on the island---an incurable leper.
When Eden chooses to work at Molokai, Rafe begins his own newspaper in support of making Hawaii part of the United States. In doing so, he again finds himself in opposition to Eden---this time with her family. Rafe’s newspaper is at political odds with Nora Derrington, Eden’s feisty Great-aunt, who came to the islands with the missionaries. While Great-aunt Nora uses her newspaper, the Honolulu Gazette, to back the Hawaiian monarchy, Rafe argues for the American cause.
Rafe and Eden, bound by love and spiritual convictions had once believed there was nothing that could ever separate them, but with patriotic convictions sky-high, and medical duty sounding a shiny trumpet, it looks as if love will lose. Can a relationship that is tested and broken be put together again?
Adding to the romantic tension is the arrival of a young man from San Francisco. Great-aunt Nora has hired Troy Townsend to help run her paper in opposition to Rafe Easton. Troy is falling for Eden, and to Rafe’s frustration, Eden appears to be responding as Troy sides with her on controversial issues.
More than views on Hawaii’s monarchy are in conflict; In an emotional conflict that will change Eden’s life, she discovers that her mother, once thought to have died by mysterious means when Eden was a baby, is a leper among the hopeless souls at the Molokai colony. How could such a tragedy have been concealed from her?
The Hawaiians face hard realities. Along with new Hawaiians, the pains of change are confronted as they decide the future of the Jewel of the Pacific.
Linda ~ I so appreciate the time, effort and fascinating information you have provided with your spotlight. Thank you :)
On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Vickie Harris and Thatcher Torrey from her second A Walk in the Park novel, Love is Monumental.
Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Linda's website