Published by Pitch73 Publishing on January 29th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women's Fiction
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
Once in Africa, I kissed a king...
"And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”
When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.
Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.
Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.
But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?
“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”
A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.
Reviewed by Joanne
*I received an E-ARC in exchange for review*
Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.
Mists of The Serengeti is an epic story of love, its about embracing life, its about putting the past behind you, laying ghosts to rest, and moving on. It’s a tale of two people who would never have crossed paths but for the tragedy that connects them. Jack lost his daughter, and Rodel lost her sister in a terrorist attack in a mall, in Jack’s home country of Tanzania. Leylah Attar beautifully describes the setting of this book with such eloquence and I was transported thousands of miles to the African plains as I read. The sights, the sounds, the people… it wasn’t hard to envisage I was there with them.
People say football is a game of two halves, well this story was a book of two halves, hence my rating. I think I’m in the minority when I say this, but I struggled with the first half, I found it hard to get into, and didn’t really connect with Rodel. I read to around half way last weekend, and it was another week before I was able to pick it up and start again. I persevered, because for one, I was being inundated by rave reviews on social media, but also because I wanted to see where the story was headed.
When I did pick it back up, I quickly became engrossed and I didn’t put it back down until I was finished. Rodel and Scholastica chipped away at Jack’s emotional wall, and as it fell the chemistry between Jack and Rodel intensified. The pace of the story picked up, and there was a sense of urgency for Rodel to finish what her sister has started before she was killed, but also there was a sadness that her time in Africa was nearly up.
“You have traitorous feet. Tomorrow, they’ll carry you away from me, but tonight they’re mine.” He kissed the tops of my feet softly. “Do they know the way back, Rodel? Do they know that if they ever walk these fields again, they belong to me? Because I will claim them. Make no mistake about that.”
This is one of those rare occasions where I think I actually liked the supporting characters more than the main ones! Goma, (Jack’s grandmother) Bahati, and Scholastica all stole my heart. I loved how Scholastica brought life back into the household, and Bahati, the Maasai warrior who was the biggest wuss! I laughed at some of their interactions, and I cried at their moments of bravery.
The fact that this story has been inspired by true events was huge eye opener for me. In our sheltered lives we don’t realise there are so many horrors in this world. It made me so sad that the tale of Juma, whilst fictional in this story, is frighteningly real for so many children like him, and it’s shocking that this is happening in this day and age. Attar did a great job of highlighting the issues and weaving them into a beautiful tale.
“Shit. We’re screwed.”
“Not yet. But we will be when the sun sets and the lions come out. Don’t worry,” he said, when the color drained from my face. “We’ll take turns keeping a look out. I’ll keep watch on the roof while you sleep, and then you can do the same for me. Here.” He tore off a branch from the tree, stripped the leaves, and handed it to me. “Start whittling. A long, sharp point is best.”
I held the stick, speechless, as he ducked into the car to get a knife. It took a moment before I caught on.
There are no lions prowling about here.
Sure enough, when I marched over and swung the door open, there he was, doubled over. Laughing. The sound of it was like ripples in a still pond, after a stone has been thrown into it. It radiated outward, enveloping me, until I couldn’t help but join in.
It was in that state of intoxication, that release from self-consciousness, between peals of laughter, that I realized I was totally, completely in love with Jack Warden. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that you could feel so alive, even though your heart was nowhere in your possession, and you knew that you were going to walk around without it for the rest of your life.