Former KHON anchor publishes first novel, Dragonfruit

Kailua-born author Malia Mattoch McManus announces the launch of her debut novel, Dragonfruit, a vivid portrait of Hawai`i in a time of historic upheaval whose central character, Eliza Dawson, tells a story of love, betrayal, and the intoxicating power of the past.

Courtesy: Malia Mattoch McManus

“Driven by the harsh, racist conditions of plantation life and the tragedy of Hawaii’s loss of sovereignty, “Dragonfruit” is reminiscent of “Gone with the Wind,” with epic scenes of violence and fire. Eliza’s indomitable spirit and unapologetic sexuality recall Scarlett O’Hara,” said the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

As the heiress to a plantation fortune, Eliza occupies a privileged place in the opulent court of Hawaii’s King Kalakaua. But her secret plan to marry the son of an opium tycoon collapses when political crisis forces him to China.

Pregnant and desperate to keep her child, Eliza must wed an opportunistic rancher on the remote island of Moloka’i. After a devastating fire, Eliza makes a daring escape to Honolulu on the eve of the American overthrow to restore the Hawaiian monarchy.

When a mysterious figure from Molokai reveals powerful secrets, only one man can help Eliza find the truth- her first love. But soon, their search for answers threatens to unravel the life she’s rebuilt in a dramatically changed Hawaii.

“Malia Mattoch McManus paints loving and vivid images of Hawaii in the late 1800s, through the eyes of a strong, woman living through the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and her own tumultuous young life. The fictional story is not only a compelling narrative…it also depicts an intimate look at a sad moment in Hawaii’s history,” said Roy Kimura, former vice president of creative services – PBS Hawaii in a book review.

After a decade reporting and anchoring at KHON in Honolulu, my former colleague began researching Dragonfruit. Parts of her own family arrived in Hawai`i in the 1800’s as both ship captains and sugar plantation workers.

Dragonfruit is McManus’s second published book but first novel. (Congratulations, Malia!) She also wrote The Hawaiian House Now and continues to write and report for local publications. She lives on O`ahu with her family.

For more information about Malia Mattoch McManus and Dragonfruit, visit http://maliamattochmcmanus.com.

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