Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.
But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently.
Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?
Rachel spent her childhood in Kenya and has returned for the first time in six years having been educated at a boarding school in the UK.
When she arrives there is much that has changed. Her father has a new partner, Sara and even Michael, someone she has known for years is looking at her slightly differently.
This book is set in one of the most turbulent times in African history. Mau Mau violence against Kenyans and British people and the retaliation for this is getting worse. Rachel longs for the happier memories of her childhood.
This book is written in the first person so as a reader, you really get into the head of the main character; her thoughts, feelings and fears. This adds a lot to the atmosphere of the book. It did feel to me that I was being transported into Kenya in the early 1950’s.
The story is plotted well and there is action in every chapter which continuously made me want to keep turning the page (despite the fact that there were some moments that were very hard to read for me.)
The writing is so incredibly rich and it had me transfixed. I finished this book a few days ago and I am still thinking about it. It doesn’t seem to want to leave me.
Some of the characters in this novel are not very likeable and are untrustworthy whilst some I feel are misunderstood by others. The fate of one character is a little heartbreaking.
The plot and characters are well-developed and this story stirred many emotions as I was reading. There is definitely a good study of moral and ethical issues throughout this novel.
This book was rich, well written and descriptive. It’s an incredible book and I recommend it.
Jennifer graduated from Oxford University in 2002 with a degree in English Literature. She went on to work in film, television, radio and publishing, before leaving her day job to do an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She graduated in 2011.
She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and Southern Africa, often in off-road vehicles, driving and camping along the way. The Fever Tree and Leopard at the Door were inspired by those experiences.
In 2014 The Fever Tree won the Epic Novel Category at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.