Monday, February 21, 2011

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan

I read a review of this book over at Book Aunt, where I get a lot of excellent book recommendations. I'm very glad I picked up a copy when I found one.

Rachel Sheridan was born and raised in Africa in a tiny village where her missionary parents run a small hospital. It's early 20th century, and the Spanish Influenza is sweeping the globe. Rachel's world is destroyed when her parents die of the flu and an unpleasant English couple take her in against her wishes. The English couple's daughter, Valerie, has also died, and Rachel looks enough like her that the parents think she could fool Valerie's grandfather, who has never actually met her. Rachel is shipped off to England with strict instructions to convince the grandfather to leave his estate to his ne'er-do-well son and daughter-in-law. She has to become Valerie, a girl who despised Africa as much as Rachel loves it.

Rachel's homesickness for Africa and her life there is moving and well realized. The reasons why she's afraid to tell the grandfather of the deception make sense, and her growing fondness for him and the English countryside make for a wonderful story. The writing is simple, clean, and descriptive.

The last section of the book, as Rachel grows older, was the weakest. It covers many years at a fast clip, skimming the important events of Rachel's life. The ending is satisfying, but the whole last section seems almost unnecessary. Still, it's a very good book and a fast read.

B&N link

No comments: