Coral Sinclair is a beautiful but naïve twenty-five-year-old photographer who has just lost her father. She's leaving the life she's known and traveling to Kenya to take ownership of her inheritance--the plantation that was her childhood home--Mpingo. On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral’s childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father’s death.
Circumstance confirms Coral’s worst suspicions, but when Rafe’s life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fiancé, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa. Is Rafe just toying with a young woman’s affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral’s inheritance? Or does Rafe’s troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine?
Set in 1970, this contemporary historical romance sends the seemingly doomed lovers down a destructive path wrought with greed, betrayal, revenge, passion, and love.
~ Megan's Review ~
I was sent a copy of this book for an honest review for Maria's Book Blog. I was not compensated in any way for reading or reviewing this book.
Coral Sinclair is a 25-year-old woman in 1970 trying to make it in the field of reporting/photography. Taken from Kenya as a small child by her mother, leaving her father behind, Coral has been somewhat sheltered in European culture. After the startling discovery of her high-profile fiancé's unfaithfulness, the news of her father's death and subsequent inheritance in Kenya reaches her. Needing to escape heart break, and having longed to return to her home in Kenya for many years, she sees and opportunity to answer many questions and advance her career at the same time, so she sets sail for Africa. After meeting a mysterious man upon her voyage, who comforts her in a moment of weakness and sorrow, she arrives at Mpingo. Happily reunited with her childhood nanny and fond memories of the past, she also faces a step-mother she was unaware of and questions regarding the circumstances of father's life and death. Upon learning that her mystery man from the ship, Rafe de Monfort, has connections to her father she must decide if she can trust herself and the feelings that Rafe brings out in her or listen to the warnings of those around her.
Hannah Fielding's writing was gentle, poetic, and magical in her descriptions of the setting of this novel. As a reader, you can could close your eyes and picture the African plains cascading around you, hear the sounds of the animals, and almost smell the sand and the sea. Her main characters, Coral and Rafe, were strongly written and captivating. Coral is an inexperienced young woman who acts very childish at times. Rafe is a tarnished, guilt-ridden man who has learned to put forth a facade to shelter his true self. The transformation that occurs as you see both of these characters overcome their own insecurities and grow throughout the story is realistic and well depicted.
Overall, I give this book a strong 4 stars. The beginning was a little slow for me, but by the end I could not put it down. Though many of the secondary characters have depth and complement the story, there were times I didn't quite "feel" the character, almost as if I needed more background on them. However, the love story between Coral and Rafe was so enticing and frustrating that there were times I truly wish I could reach in the book and slap one of them for their stupidity. The author explored the budding new relationship complete with baggage, meddling outsiders, and a touch of innocence. I would surely recommend this book to anyone looking for an engrossing read with a realistic love story that manages to be sensual without resorting to overly-explicit and obvious descriptions.