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Sep 1, 2013

Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams: Book Tour and Review

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  2:37 PM

Author: Waimea Williams 
Series:     N 
Genre:     Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Luminis Books (November 12, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1935462636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935462637

Born into an impoverished Hawaiian family in the 1960s, Maile Manoa's quest for a life in music lures her to the high-stakes world of European opera. In Salzburg, Austria she attracts the attentions of powerful men and falls in love--with a troubled young musician, with the city, and the intrigue that surrounds her.

When Werner von Wehlen, the famous conductor at the center of Salzburg's glamorous music festival, offers her a leading role, she is forced to confront the Nazi heart of the classical music scene and von Wehlen's treacherous past. 
With Soviet tanks threatening to invade the city on the evening of her much-anticipated premiere, Maile must choose between recognition on the world stage or leaving the city with her life--and her conscience--intact.
This blurb came from Amazon.
I should mention at this point that this post is part of a book tour hosted by Novel Publicity and  as such I will not really discuss the entire story so that I will not give any more away than I’m sure has already been.
I sometimes find it so hard to pick what to talk about in a review when I find a good book.
This is the problem I’m having with Aloha, Mozart. This is a really good book and such a refreshing treat from a sea of bad reading choices I’ve made in the recent past.
What I want to talk about is what a talented writer Walmea Williams is and how I saw this in Aloha, Mozart.
Because this is a book tour, my intentions were to do an indepth review and I had my note book and pencil on the ready but somewhere along the line I got so absorbed in the story I lost track. I think that works out to be a compliment too.
The story is told of this young girl who not only has dreams but feels propelled by some inner force to have a life in music. Something that seems improbable because all the odds are stacked against her due to her improverished background. And yet through it all she perseveres and goes on to have a life as a consummate performer in Europe.
As you can tell I loved her story but what really endeared  this book to me is the writer’s inclusion of her cultural background and the ongoing psychological battle between traditional beliefs of the Hawaiian people and the relaxed, liberal ones of the “white man”. The mental enslavement of a native people who go on to define themselves by the labels they have been allotted (white and Asian is intelligent/ native is stupid). This is a dimension in this book I identify with quite closely coming from a country and continent with a history rife with colonization and still reeling from its influence. 
Further to this was the intriguing telling of the spiritual beliefs. So many things took me back to my childhood in the mentions of what is kapu and mana. When I come across such books I get so nostalgic and sad over the lack of record of our traditions, the things that made our people who we are. Although this is a Hawaiian story, I still identify with many of the superstitions mentioned as we were raised with them in Africa.
Writing a novel based on music is challenge enough in my book because as a reader I always wonder if I will believe in the story and will I hear the music which for some reason I want to have happen. But added to that, Walmea manages to write dialogue in a way that is unique to each character, that feels genuine and gives you the full complex story behind each one.
Not only this but adds a story line that digs deep into cultures that cross continents to dwell in most cases quiet discomfort within its inhabitants.
Everything was absolutely brilliant. I should perhaps mention that when you come across a word that is in the local laguage as part of a conversation you may be tempted to think this will get complicated because there are no descriptors. Not so, almost immediately in the next sentence the writer uses the English version of the word or constructs a sentence which makes it self explanatory. Brilliant technique. 

 This is a fantastic debut novel with rich culture, the elite of art and music,
deep and extremely diverse character backed up by solid story telling. I'd like to have this one on my book shelf. Contratulations Waimea.

Click on the link below the book cover to buy the book.


  • You can also get your copy at my online book store: Fabulosity Galore
  • Book source: I got bought this book. There was no review request by the author.
  • If you're interested reading more of my reviews then click HERE.
  • If you would like to request a book review or you would like to guest post here feel free to email me:

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. Brilliant review, Wendy. I'm so glad you were able to connect with Aloha, Mozart on multiple levels. Multiculturalism is one of my favorite themes to read and write about as well--and we just don't run across many that take place in a Hawaiian setting.

    Thank you so much for joining us on this tour, and please take a moment to cross-post your lovely review to Amazon and GoodReads. Also don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter and random commenter contests :-D

    Em <3

    1. I've cross posted Em. I hope you can give me some details about the contests.

  2. Hi Wendy~found your blog and decided to stay & read a spell~ What a beautiful blog full of interesting information to anyone who loves to read and or write!! Excellent Review~Can't wait to come by regularly and check out your posts! :)

  3. Oh you guys rock over at innionnmathiar.

  4. Thank you, Wendy, for giving my book such a close reading. Every writer wants to reach readers but it's unusual to find one like yourself with a deep appreciation of all the other layers of a novel (cultural, spiritual, social) beyond the story. That really completes the connection between the author and the reader.

  5. It was the greatest of pleasures reading this book Waimea so thank you for writing it.

  6. Thanks to Novel Publicity Book Tours, I've just discovered your very lovely and well-written blog!

    I greatly enjoyed reading your excellent review of this wonderful book! I especially liked how you highlighted all the threads of racism and colonialism that were woven into the story. In spite of her love for opera, Maile, along with the reader, comes to the realization that this art form is unfortunately connected to a worldview based on racism. However, I do think that lovers of music must go beyond this to appreciate the music on its own. Not easy, I know....

    I also loved that you brought out the contrast and juxtaposition of Maile's traditional Hawaiian culture and spiritual beliefs with those of the white Europeans.

    To sum up, this is indeed a brilliant review! Thank you so much for posting it!!

    By the way, I'm a new follower! : )

  7. I am so pleased you found you way here Maria. And i'm glad you enjoyed the review.
    I specifically chose to highlight the an area that I have not read about in other reviews because I really felt that the book was about the music and a lot more....i'm glad that this came across and thank you for commenting so succinctly on it


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