What’s it all about?:
Beth Jenkins – semi-bereaved wife, rootless doctor – runs away from home at the age of twenty-eight and a half and becomes a heroine of a revolution.
Locked into a lonely future by a cruel twist of fate, Beth reaches breaking point, abandons her husband, and flees to faraway Zimbabwe. Her attempts to create a new life falter when she finds herself at the center of a deadly struggle for the ownership of a farm. From a guest of honor at the President’s table to a disastrous decision that betrays a good man, her new start threatens to end in catastrophe.
But the land and its painted rocks hold clues to a path to atonement and re-found love if she has the courage to search.
What did I think?:
First of all, many thanks to the lovely people at Troubador Publishing for this ARC which I requested from NetGalley. The synopsis of the story was intriguing to me as I have quite a lot of interest in the history of Zimbabwe so I was looking forward to a contemporary view and what looked like an interesting plot-line for a novel. Our protagonist is a woman called Beth Jenkins who is currently working as a locum GP but is becoming increasingly disillusioned by her work and longs to be able to give a little more time to each of her patients and perhaps explore fresh avenues career-wise. This is hampered by her personal life however as her husband has had a devastating brain haemorrhage which has left him requiring constant care while erasing most of his previous memories and leaving him quite dependent on her. Her demanding mother-in-law does not provide much support for Beth, emotionally or otherwise and she begins to feel trapped in a life that she had not anticipated.
On a routine visit to a cranky and resilient elderly patient in a care home Beth’s life takes a dramatic turn when he entrusts her with a deed for some land which he is the owner of in Zimbabwe. Mr de. Villier is dying of lung cancer and insists that he wishes the deed to be placed in the hands of his son only, which leads to Beth taking up the adventure and travelling to Africa. Zimbabwe at this time has just been liberated and Beth meets a host of different characters, some a bit frightening, others warm and incredibly helpful to her with her task which has become more mammoth than she expected. She finds out that delivering a piece of paper is a lot harder than it looks, especially when politics and African laws get in the way, facing dangers and new challenges which opens her eyes to the beauty of life and the possibilities of love.
This book left me with mixed up feelings I have to say. I hadn’t realised that it was based on a true story until I reached the end and I don’t know if I would have felt differently about the book if I had known this from the beginning. I did think that the book was a good read overall but something prevented it from being a brilliant read for me personally. The plot is intriguing and I was sympathetic to Beth’s plight of looking after her disabled husband, but when Beth’s friends came over to “save” her in Zimbabwe it became slightly sensationalist. Saying that though I thought the ending was quite beautiful, and I didn’t expect what happened, so there is a possibility that Beth may get the happily-ever-after that she longs for.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):