Released: January 29th 2017
“It’s a thought provoking and poignant read that will touch the deepest parts of your soul if you let it.”
~ Under the Covers
Somehow I knew this book would get to my heart before I cracked it open. I read the blurb and everything about it called me to read it, even though I knew there would be some tough heartbreak awaiting. Leylah Attar doesn’t hold back gutting you. As the blurb says, there’s a bombing at a mall where a father loses his young daughter, and a woman loses her sister. Among many other deaths. But these two bring about two very different paths together.
Jack Warden is a local coffee farmer. His marriage to his daughter’s mother didn’t work out because the farm has always been his life and she was more of a city girl. Rodel Emerson was starting to get her life on track where she thought she wanted it to be. Teaching and buying her first home back in England. They both led a simple life until they both carried immense sorrow and guilt. It is through that search for healing and connection to her sister that Rodel goes on a journey that lands her on Jack’s door. A Jack who is now just a shadow of the lively man he used to be.
I really don’t want to spoil the plot more than what you know from the blurb. So I’ll try and only touch on some points about why I thought this book was special and really one of a kind.
First and foremost is the setting. This is definitely one I haven’t read before and Ms. Attar did a tremendous job at transporting me to a place I have never seen. A great part of this book takes place in Tanzania and there is an ease and knowledge with which she talks about the scenes and places, traditions and culture, that speaks of either great research or personal knowledge. I really felt like the setting was a vibrant and alive participant of this story and I think that is such an important, but often overlooked, part of a good story.
The unexpected political, social and cultural issues. I thought we would just be getting into a romance story that started out with a tragedy. But as the plot quickly unfolds, my heart was aching and breaking because of the ugly realities that society faces that are brought up with this story. It still makes me think, cry and hurt today.
We are all connected. Probably one of my favorite threads throughout the book is how it shows that all actions are connected. How one thing here can have ramifications elsewhere, to someone else. How one can help another heal, or let go.
However, a few things stopped me from giving this 5 stars however. The pacing was a bit slow to get going. I wish there would’ve been more engagement at the beginning where I would’ve wanted to dive in faster. Once I was in though, I was fully committed and cared for these characters. And another thing that would sometimes take me out of the story was the descriptions. I don’t think it’s overly descriptive about the setting and landscapes, but a few times it did feel like we were getting A LOT of information about specific animals, or phenomena. And not from experiencing but from one telling or explaining the other. I only felt this a few times, though, so it didn’t diminish my overall enjoyment of the story.
In the end, MISTS OF THE SERENGETI is more than just a beautiful romance born out of the darkest circumstances. It’s a thought provoking and poignant read that will touch the deepest parts of your soul if you let it. The epilogue? Just a little cherry addition on top. 🙂
“This is what it looks like when you wander somewhere between sand and stardust, and meet a piece of yourself in someone else.”
“What do you think of Africa?” I will always think of you when I think of Africa. “It’s beautiful and heart-wrenching. It heals you, it destroys you. It’s the place that claimed my sister.” And my heart.
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