Title: Mists of the Serengeti
Author: Leylah Attar
Rating: 5+ ‘Yellow Balloon’ stars
“Once in Africa I kissed a King…”
The book is an epic tale of loss and adventure. It was a truly beautiful and unforgettable read that will stay with me for a long time. The story is amazingly well written story, adding another fantastic read by Leylah Attar that transports you up into the African landscape.
“My greatest loss had led to my greatest love. Hearts were broken, and hearts were healed. Lives were lost, and lives were saved.”
The book starts off with a tragic event that connects a teacher form England, Rodel Emerson, to a coffee farmer in Tanzania named Jack Warden. When Rodel comes to Africa to get her sister’s things she uncovers the important work that she is doing and wants to follow through with her plan. She discovers that her sister, Mo has been finding albino children and taking them to a special orphanage.
It uncovers the atrocity of in particular, the fate of albino children in Tanzania. There are three names of Mo’s list and Rodel wants to complete this list for her sister. Through the help of the other volunteers and friends that Mo made, Rodel has a place to start her mission. She is given the name of Jack Warden, as the man who would help her drive these kids to the orphanage.
When she first meets Jack he is rude and doesn’t take kindly to her. It is later explained by Jack’s Grandmother that he lost his daughter in the mall shooting where Rodel also lost her sister. With the aide of an albino girl she promised to look after (the daughter of Mo’s friend, Gabriel who helped her with the children but who has since disappeared) Jack is convinced and helps Rodel with her task.
“…By some crazy twist of fate, our paths had crossed- two people with fresh, tender grief, thrown into a hopeless situation, trying to save a bunch of kids when we could barely keep our own heads together.”
Jack and Rodel, connected by shared grief and purpose develop a closer relationship, unlike anything that they have ever felt before. They set out on their journey but not everything goes to plan and along the way there is loss but they also find other ways that they can help. They save many albino children who have taken from there homes but they also found some who didn’t need any assistance.
Jack and Rodel are falling for each other but circumstances are not always in their favor but that doens’t stop love for forming a foundation.
“I didn’t want someone, someday. I wanted now. Today. And I wanted it with Jack”
“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I found the elusive magic I had glimpsed only between the pages of a great love stories.”
This was such a beautiful story of trials and recovery and the relationship of Rodel and Jack was something special. Overall I loved this book and is definitely one of my favourites I have read this year. The story is truly remarkable, it is one of great loss but also of great strength. The love between the two characters was so real and is a story of epic proportions. It makes you feel all the emotions of real sadness but also feelings of hope.
“I will remember a strange, beautiful girl who liked the feel of old books and drank her coffee sweet. She snuck onto my porch on a gray day and taught me to see in color. She was a thief, my rainbow-haloed girl. When she left, she took my heart. And if I had another, I would give her that too.”
The epilogue did a wonderful albeit heartbreaking way of connecting the whole story together. It answered many questions and added a whole new meaning and dimension to the story that raises it up to a whole new level, ending the story with a resounding bang.