Mists of the Serengeti
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Once in Africa, I kissed a king...
“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”
When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.
Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.
Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.
But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?
“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”
A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.
A book of epic proportions!
I just finished reading this epic story by the amazing Leylah Attar. This book absolutely needs to be made into a movie. An Oscar worthy movie, that is how perfect it was. I am speechless. The storyline, the emotion, the characters, the scenery, the underlying themes in the book. All perfect.
There are so many things about this book that I loved, but the two things at the top of my list are the prologue and the epilogue. As much as the entirety of this book captured my heart, those two chapters literally obliterated my emotions. The blurb sets up the story and prepares us for the fact that the hero, Jack, loses his daughter in a senseless bombing, and the heroine, Rodel, loses her only sister. What I wasn't prepared for was how hard that senseless, tragic act would still break my heart with us learning about it from the points of view of both Jack and Rodel. Right out of the gate, the superb writing captivated me, making me feel like I was experiencing everything that Jack and Rodel did, from their thoughts to their emotions, the turmoil they felt, in just the prologue!! I knew at that point I was lost to this story. I wanted to eat it up and store it inside me, even though a lot of it sliced through my heart like a piece of broken glass.
The imagery that Leylah created throughout this story made me stop and research Tanzania, and Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Serengeti, and the Maasai tribes of Africa. I needed to know all about all of it, soak all this information up so I could better visualize what I was reading. But while I was researching, I couldn't wait to keep reading the story, that is how much it captivated me. Heck, I was even creating an itinerary for my magical trip I plan to take to Tanzania as soon as I hit the lottery!
So much goes on in this story that I don't feel like I can concentrate on any one thing in this review and truly do it justice because so much of it is intertwined, and I feel I would be remiss in mentioning some other element that made this story so amazing. This is the type of book you absolutely need to go into blind, don't read anyone else's review, just go in with your eyes wide open, ready to grasp the enormity of this epic story.
Jack and Rodel were two of the strongest people I've ever read about, even when they themselves never believed that. So many times, reading this book I wanted to fold in on myself and succumb to the pain and heartbreak that occurred. I know that sounds ominous but please don't let that scare you off from reading this fantastic journey these two characters take in this book. I highlighted more passages than any other book I've read, and if I were to put them all in this review it would end up being pages long. I'll just put a couple of them.
"I witnessed, for the first time, how someone can radiate pure strength from a place of pure pain. Sometimes the most heroic thing we can do is fight the battle within and just emerge on the other side. Because it's not just one battle, one time. We do it over and over again, as long as we breathe, as long as we live."
"Remember this. When you're curled up with your books on a rainy afternoon in England, remember how you painted my world with your colors. Remember your rainbow halo."
One of the things that resonated for me so completely throughout this story are the invisible threads that tie everyone and everything together through the universe. How circumstances that happen in one part of the world have such a huge impact on lives on the complete opposite side of the world. Here’s another of my favorite passages, "How many times do we pass people on the street, whose lives are intertwined with ours in ways that remain forever unknown? How many ways are we tied to a stranger by fragile, invisible threads that bind us all together?"
Leylah does a brilliant job with her secondary characters as well, characters that round out this story so seamlessly, and are absolutely necessary for the success of the entire adventure that Jack and Rodel embark upon. And here again, like the invisible threads that were woven throughout, these characters are woven throughout in ways I never would have expected. And in reading the epilogue, everything and everyone came into perfect focus for me and tied those invisible threads into a beautifully heartbreaking bow.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this book would make for an Oscar worthy movie. Never have I visualized a story more than I did with this one. Such clear, moving images in my head throughout. It gave me chills constantly, that is how clear the images were. Just perfection.
It's unfortunate that we can only rate this book with 5 stars, because it is worthy of unlimited stars.
"Once in Africa, I kissed a king..." Most poignant line ever.
I'm not a real good review writer so here goes. Just get this book it's beautifully written. Leylah Attar is a poet. She wrote an amazing love story but it's also a story of loss and gain. No spoilers but I'm going to have this book haunt me for a long while in a good way.