From Publishers Weekly
Native Tahitian Vaite returns to the charming world of Materena Mahi, the "professional cleaner" and mother of three introduced in early 2006's Frangipani.
This second installment begins when Pito Tehana, the father of Materena's children, drunkenly proposes marriage. Though he's forgotten about it by morning, Materena can't get it out of her head. In between jobs, caring for her kids and visits with her many cousins, Materena fantasizes about her wedding, even though Pito does nothing but dash Materena's hopes; in one of the book's most moving chapters, Materena scrimps to buy Pito a silk shirt for his birthday, but when he opens it, he grumpily tells her to return it and buy him a case of beer. Although the novel is driven by Materena's intense longing, it's peppered with witty encounters between Materena and her nosy family members. Among the wide cast of friends and family, there's Cousin Giselle, who gave birth in the back of a Mercedes Benz; Mama Roti, Pito's doting mother; Mama Teta, who drives a wedding car; and Rita, Materena's favorite cousin. None are particularly nuanced, but when combined with Vaite's light touch and the exotic setting, the result is redolent of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series—a delightful diversion. (Sept. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Like Alexander McCall Smith in his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Vaite (Frangipani,
2005) excels at depicting the warm sense of community that pervades her Tahitian island setting. Although Matarena Mahi has lived with her man, Pito, for 12 years and they have three children, they have never married. So when a drunken Pito proposes one night, Matarena's spirits soar. Not quite ready to put the news out on the "coconut radio," she surreptitiously gathers the necessary info: from ace baker Moeata, she learns the cost of a delicious chocolate cake, and from professional disc jockey Georgette, the kind of music to be played at the reception that will keep people dancing all night. But by the time Matarena has finished gathering the details, a sober Pito has failed to follow through on his proposal. Soon Matarena is crying copiously every time she hears Edith Piaf sing a love song. Will she ever feel like she is truly loved? In charming fashion, Vaite conveys universal truths about men and women and the mysteries at the heart of every romantic relationship. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved