Sunday, April 7, 2013
Review: Illumine Her by Sieni A.M.
By: Sieni A.M.
Published: March 2013
Published by: Self Published
Description: After being away for three years and graduating nursing school, Alana Vilo finally returns home to Samoa and knows nothing will ever be the same. Consumed with grief from the loss of her father, she buries herself in her work and the obligations that come with a large family.
While her colleagues anticipate the arrival of a mysterious benefactor, Alana remains unimpressed, until she meets him. Chase Malek is not at all what she expects of the philanthropist that has donated so much to help her island’s hospital. Young, handsome, and strangely knowledgeable of their local customs, Alana realizes there's much more to Chase than meets the eye. After a traumatic experience with one of her patients, her suspicions are confirmed.
Alana starts to resurface as she attempts to uncover all of Chase's secrets. As she starts to put the pieces together, she learns more about herself, and the walls she put up after her father's death slowly start to crumble. But now that she's opened her heart and let Chase in, will he even be able to stay? Or will his greatest secret of all keep them apart?
My Thoughts: I was a little hesitant to read Illumine Her when I received the review request from the wonderful Sieni A.M.. The story takes place in Samoa, and one of my most favorite stories of all time also takes place in Samoa. That book was the reason Samoa is on my list of places I want to visit in my lifetime. I was worried that this book might not live up to the hype I had in my head of Samoa and I was worried that I might not love Illumine Her as much as I wanted to. All my worries were unnecessary though because as soon as I got into the story, I was hooked.
Illumine Her is a story that follows Alana Vilo after she returns home from college and is beginning to work at the nearby hospital on her island. One day, an extremely handsome and rich man named Chase Malek comes by to donate a large sum of money to her hospital's efforts. Alana can tell that this man is somewhat different from everyone else she knows, but even after seeing his differences for herself, she still gets no answers, and he leaves the island. However, after a series of circumstances, and his appearance at her house for his friends marriage to her sister, they are thrust in each other's paths once again. This time, she does get a chance to find out his secrets and she begins to fall for him. Unfortunately, they aren't meant to be, because his secret is one that requires him to be away from her, and he has rules that he must follow, rules that don't necessarily allow him to be able to fulfill his purpose and follow his heart at the same time.
This story was so sweet and different and amazing. It was a love story in every sense of the word; love for one's family, love for one's purpose, love for one's partner, love for one's self, and love for one's country. I absolutely loved it. As a character, Alana has emotional issues that cause her to keep barriers up between her and others, and of course, Chase is able to knock down those barriers and save Alana. They love each other deeply and passionately. Their love is realistic, as are the events in this novel (with a few exceptions). Even the secondary characters were lovable. This wasn't one of those stories where the MC goes on some dangerous journey to fight bad guys and secretly kicks ass with only the use of a hairbrush and two chopsticks. No, Alana goes through life doing normal things, going to school, working as a nurse, hanging with friends and family and meeting a guy. She's just like me! There isn't so much drama so as not to be realistic, there's just the development of love, pure and simple, and it was refreshing in its simplicity.
Then of course, there's Samoa. I must go there. This book portrays it so beautifully. I love the family dynamics (though I don't know how much I'd love them if I actually had to deal with them), and community nature of the people, the beautiful landscape and just everything about it. This book just bumped it up a few notches on my list of places I must go.
There were only a few things about this book that I didn't absolutely love. The beginning was a bit slow and it made the story seem like it took too long to get to the point. I didn't see the plot points start until about one or two chapters in. It wasn't a big deal though and I still enjoyed reading those parts. There were also a lot of character speeches. Often, when having a conversation, one of the characters will talk for a long period of time, usually about how they felt about the other or about a particular subject and sometimes it felt a bit too lengthy for regular conversation. That too wasn't a big deal.
I am a romantic, and love reading love stories. I love to fall in love and I love to see people fall in love. I definitely fell in love with this story, and with Chase Malek.I would recommend this story to those of you who love love. Those of you who, like me, are hopeless romantics. I teared up at the end of this story and how beautiful it is. I give it 4.5 stars. It wasn't absolutely perfect, but it was darn close!