‘Tiare in Bloom’ is the final instalment in Célestine Hitiura Vaite’s trilogy featuring Materena Mahi, her husband Pito, and their day-to-day experiences in beautiful Tahiti.
After becoming a radio talk-show host, Materena is a big star in the little town of Faa’a. She is not a professional cleaner anymore, but a confident, successful woman – a proud wife, a mother of three grown-up children, a local celebrity – who truly enjoys her new life. Instead of sitting at home, she takes driving lessons and goes out with her girlfriends to have some fun. Her behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed by Pito. Oh how he wants his wife to be her old self again! But it seems that the good old times have irretrievably passed.
Everything changes when an infant baby girl is left on the couple’s doorstep. As the little cutie pie turns out to be their son’s daughter, Materena and Pito feel it’s their duty to take care of her. And so they do. Quite surprisingly, the star grandfather – Pito – finally gains admiration not only from his wife, but also her relatives.
Can the third book in a series be better than the first two? Apparently it can. This volume may be Vaite’s best work yet. It’s so deep, so multidimensional, so insightful that you can’t help but marvel at both the story itself and the author’s craft.
Those who read the previous titles in the trilogy might be surprised to find out that this last instalment is not about Materena. Although she still remains a prominent character, it’s her significant other Pito who steals the limelight. His trials and tribulations, his efforts to become a man worthy of his wife are the focal points of this incredibly interesting narrative. Vaite managed to paint a very believable portrait of a husband, father, son, and finally a doting grandfather. As she describes Pito’s transformation from a self-absorbed, I-know-everything macho to a loving and wise man, she plants a seed of change in people’s mentality. It’s a fact that she tries to influence and inspire primarily her fellow countrymen, who are members of a highly traditional society with strictly defined gender roles. But the truth is, this thought-provoking tale has the power to affect every single human being, regardless of race, sex, age, or religion. Gentlemen, if you’ve been wondering what it really means to be an ‘alpha male’, you should grab this novel and ponder on the author’s words. Ladies, you think you’re obliged to do certain things just because you are women? Think again, and you may soon experience your very own eureka moment.
Vaite’s shocking (at least to some readers) look at love, marriage, and family makes this book an outstanding study of custom in transition. Somewhere between the lines of this light-hearted, amusing story lie the well-known truths and waiting to be discovered secrets. Many (if not all) of them are universally applicable, capable of fitting into any time and place. We are still in French Polynesia; but this time French Polynesia represents the whole world.
It’s fair to say that Célestine Hitiura Vaite outdid herself with this volume. If her previous novels are good – and they are – this one is excellent. Created in her distinctive style, it’s a magnificent closure to the Tahitian trilogy – entertaining, funny, inspirational, extremely touching. I can promise you that your emotions will be running high every time you flip the page of ‘Tiare in Bloom’. A book can’t possibly get any better than this.
So do not wait to lay your hands on these gems. Each of the three titles is charming, well written, and thoroughly engaging. Together, they form a wonderful series that offers a fascinating insight into Tahitian culture. Let Materena, Pito, and the rest of the clan give you a guided tour of the place they are privileged to call home. But be careful, you may not want to come back.