Magical ancestry, Eva Van Mierlo
Lani Wendt Young
01 December, 2020
Telesā: The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young is an inspiring romance about Pacific mythology, set in 20th century Samoa. It spins a thrilling tale about two young lovers, who both desperately want each other, yet they can never be together. My heart was torn in two for these young people over and over again, as they repeatedly turn their backs on each other. It’s a brilliant read for anyone who needs a good heartbreaking romance.
Telesā is the story of a young woman named Leila, who, against her father’s dying wishes, goes to Samoa in search of her mother. All her life she has been told her mother died after her father fled with baby Leila. In Samoa she stays with her aunty and uncle, who refuse to even speak of her mother, and is only allowed to go to three places in all of Samoa: home, school and church.
But at school she meets a boy she cannot resist: green eyed, auburn haired, tattooed Daniel Tahi, who refuses to be in a relationship, after his father left his mother when she was pregnant, leaving her to give birth alone, at eighteen.
Though all is not as it seems on the tropical islands of Samoa. Leila’s mother is alive, and finds her one day after school. She goes to live with her, and finds out she is a rare being called a Telesā, someone with magical inheritance that can summon powers of certain gods.
But Leila does not want this magic, because it prevents her from being with the boy she loves. So she teams up with a young volcano researcher called Jason in an attempt to find a cure for her fiery powers.
The Covenant Keeper shows brilliantly how young people fall in love, how their hearts break when they can’t be together, and how a young woman with a fiery attitude learns that not everyone is trying to bully her through racism.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though it took me a while to read because it was a bit slow at times. I also noticed that it lacks proper grammar in some places, particularly after ‘’oohs’’ and “ahhs’’ in sentences. But apart from that, it is indeed a great read. I loved how it spun Pacific mythology and teen romance together into a thrilling tale with a brilliant climax.
Three more installments in this wonderful series await to be read, and this is only the first. I hope that all the other books will leave me feeling as heartbroken and excited for the next as the first did. I would recommend that you don’t read this book all night, because you will certainly want to, but if you do, make sure to keep a box of tissues handy.
Though at the end of the day, Selina Tusitala Marsh’s quote on the back sums up the whole book: “Sex in the city meets hex in the bush.”
At first I did not know what she meant by that, but now I do. And after you’ve read this review, I hope you do too: a young woman from DC goes to Samoa, falls in love, and learns about her magical ancestry…
It truly is the Pacific Twilight.
Eva Van Mierlo is 12 years old and lives in Runanga, West Coast.