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Friday, December 13, 2013

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

Title: A Spear of Summer Grass
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 370
How I Read It: Paperback purchased by me.
My Rating: 3.5 Crowns

Synopsis: Paris, 1923

The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savanna manor house until gossip subsides.
Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.

Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions, and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming – yet fleeting and often cheap.

Amidst the wonders – and dangers – of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty, and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for – and what she can no longer live without.

*Synopsis taken from the book jacket

My Review: I absolutely adore Deanna Raybourn, so I practically jump at the chance to read anything she puts out. While this novel is not starring my beloved Julia Grey, I was delighted to get to know Delilah, another strong female character ahead of her time. Delilah generally does as she pleases, consequences be damned, and I like that in a character. I love watching a character grow and change from the start of a story to the end, and recklessness is a great way to begin that journey.

Readers familiar with Raybourn’s work will likely see some similarities between the relationship of Delilah and Ryder and that of Julia Grey and Brisbane. I am a huge fan of any of these relationships, so it was a dynamic I was happy to see in play again. I know that some readers get a little tired of it, which means some may not be quite as enamoured as I was.

Knowing next to nothing about Africa, this story made it come alive for me. I’ve always wanted to go on a safari, a feeling that was enhanced by reading this because the scenery and wildlife sounded so interesting to me. Terrifying as well, but sometimes you’ve got to mix it up!

Delilah finds herself getting swept up in a continent, and a murder investigation, she had no intention of getting into at all. I could feel myself becoming more concerned about these people as the novel went along, and just like Delilah, I was wondering what I would do about everything that was happening along the way.

I’m also thrilled to discover that this is the start of a series, and I’m really excited to see what comes next for Delilah and the other people in her life. Will she continue to get into all kinds of trouble? What comes next with Ryder? Guess we’ll have to wait and see!

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Mystica said...

One of the few Raybourns I have not read. Have to get to this one soon.

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

It's really good, I hope you like it!