Sunday, 13 August 2017

Leopard at the door

Leopard at the Door by [McVeigh, Jennifer]

*The perfect summer read, the novel that Dinah Jefferies has called 'A simply stunning novel that will stay with me: magnificent'*

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?

About the author

Jennifer McVeigh

Jennifer McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002. She went on to work in film and publishing, before leaving her day job to do an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.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 was a Richard & Judy Bookclub Pick. Leopard at the Door will be published by Penguin on 13th July 2017.

My Review

I love books which take the reader on a journey to another time or place and this book did both. Set during the time of the Mau Mau rebellion in 1950s Kenya, it attempts to show the cause and effects from both sides, mainly through the eyes of Rachel, who returns to her childhood home after an absence to find everything changed.Trying to find the happiness she knew as a child before the death of her mother, I felt a lot of empathy towards her, especially when she is warned not to return by her father; whether this is concern for her safety or for ulterior motives I'll leave you to judge.
As you might expect, the subject matter, though not gruesome, is nevertheless dark and although I enjoyed the book, it did leave me feeling very unsettled.


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