Monday, February 25, 2013


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

This book was one of those happy accidents that, as a reader, I absolutely love. At first glance, this is not a book I would have chosen for myself. However, as I received it as a review copy, I plunged in and was pleasantly surprised.

The book opens in 1970s South Africa on the road to Botswana.  Medical student Isaac Muthethe is fleeing from South Africa and leaving behind his family and his life.  He has unwittingly become a political refugee after witnessing the murder of his friend by the South African Defense Force.  After Isaac arrives in Botswana, he begins the painstaking process of building a life and gets hired as a gardener by a young American woman named Alice Medelssohn. Alice also feels like an outsider in Botswana. She is trapped in an unhappy marriage and can't seem to grasp the social rules of Africa. As Alice and Isaac both struggle to find their place in this foreign land, they form an unexpected bond. When Isaac goes missing one day, Alice goes searching for him.  Both their lives are change forever.

It almost seems amazing now to think about apartheid in South Africa and how devastating it was.  This book was a good reminder of how difficult life was for black South African under that regime and how many political refugees escaped to surrounding countries. I found the relationship between Isaac and Alice to be extremely moving. I was reminded of how we all have the power to make a big difference in someone else's life if we will only take the time. This incredibly moving book was a wonderful read.

BOTTOM LINE:  Highly recommended.  I didn't expect to love this book so much but I was absolutely captivated by the story and characters.  Beautifully written and very emotional.

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