Published by Tundra Books on March 8th 2011
The Boer War was disastrous for the British: 22,000 of them died. Close to 7,000 Boers died. Nobody knows how many Africans lost their lives, but the number is estimated to be around 20,000. This tragic, and little remembered, chapter in history is the backdrop for Trilby Kent’s powerful novel.
Corlie Roux’s father has always told her that God gave Africa to the Boers. Her life growing up on a farm in South Africa is not easy: it is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left in the care of a cold, stern mother who clearly favors her two younger brothers. But she finds solace with her African maitie, Sipho, and in Africa itself.
Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boers from their farms. The families who do not surrender escape to hidden laagers in the bush to help fight off the British. When Corlie’s laager is discovered, she and the others are sent to an internment camp.
Corlie is strong and can draw on her knowledge of the land she loves, but is that enough to help her survive the starvation, disease, and loss that befalls her in the camp?
I really enjoyed Trilby's previous book Medina Hill and was happy to join her tour for Stones of My Father. Corlie is constantly feeling her mother's wrath. When they have to abandon their farm to flee the British, she finally finds out why her mother favors her younger brothers over her. This book really tore into my emotions and was quite a turbulent ride. Trilby has again produced a book that really speaks to the reader and gives such a clear view of that time in history it was like I was there with Corlie.
Corlie was very strong for such a young character. She endured so much after her father died and when she is forced to live in a refugee camp, she uses her wits to make sure she is well fed. I think fans of historical fiction will love this one. Or anyone who likes a strong female lead character.
Cover Commentary: Harrowing, isn't it? I love it, definitely speaks to the novel.
TRILBY KENT was born in Toronto, Ontario, but grew up in cities on both sides of the Atlantic. After completing degrees at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, she worked for a time in the rare books department at Bonhams before turning to journalism and writing novels for children and adults. Her first book, Medina Hill, is also available from Tundra Books. Trilby Kent lives in London, England.
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