Book Review: Heart of the Tapu Stone, by Olivia Aroha Giles

Available in selected bookstores nationwide.

Heart of the Tapu Stone is an engaging and well-written tale, containing many interwoven cv_heart_of_the_tapu_stonethreads. It is the story of  family dynamics, following the lives of two women and those around them. The book explores how family can teach you more about yourself as you grow up and come of age.

Ana Kingi left her husband and daughter years ago, returning to the small township of her childhood to act as their local doctor. Here she fell back into easy friendship with her neighbour and childhood playmate, local farmer, Robert McGregor. Now, as her daughter is in her teenage years, she has brought her back to her side in the hope of getting to know her, and helping the young woman to understand herself.

Laurel, raised as a privileged city girl, doted on by her father and grandparents, is somewhat reluctant to go along with these plans. However, this soon gives way to a more positive frame of mind when she meets Robert’s nephew, Romeo, who has just become his uncle’s ward, and comes from a troubled home.

Both Laurel and Ana have strong personalities, and often clash with one another.  Ana is determined, stubborn and her daughter reflects these traits, with an added streak of recklessness and feist. She is not easily beaten down by her encounter with the local teenage-girl clique, who are resentful of her intrusion. Added into the mix of personalities are Ana’s spiteful mother; Romeo’s aggressive and vindictive father; Piripi, Robert’s hopeless flirt of a brother; Colin Maynard, Laurel’s father and Ana’s ex-husband and Margaret, Colin’s mother and Romeo’s care-worker.

With such a colourful cast of characters, Olivia Aroha Giles has skilfully woven an intricate and careful weave, creating personalities you will remember and a story that is easy to lose oneself in.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

Heart of the Tapu Stone
by Olivia Aroha Giles
Published by Dusky Productions Ltd
ISBN 9780473230876

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