Synopsis: Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland in 1919 to travel to South Africa and marry her fiancé that she has not seen for five years. Isolated and estranged in a harsh landscape, she finds solace in her diary and the friendship of her housemaid's daughter, Ada. Under Cathleen's tutelage, Ada grows into an accomplished pianist, and a reader who cannot resist turning the pages of the diary, discovering the secrets Cathleen sought to hide.
Being South African and growing up at the end of the Apartheid, I could totally relate to this story. This too was the South Africa I recall as a young teen. The park benches, public toilets and beaches with their signs "Whites Only" - a picture I still have in my head.
I found the book was very readable, but I didn't find it going anywhere fast. I found that the book went along in a straight line, and did have a hint of predictability, which was a bit disappointing.
I also found that the events taking place in the Apartheid times were very toned down, I recall some of these events happening, like the necklacing that took place, which was just gruesome, and yet, I did not get that feeling when reading her descriptions of these actions.
Maybe it could be that being South African I have a biased expectation of the story, which I found fell a little short of the mark.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was the scenery, which was most visible to me through my mind's eye.
My favourite being the Hadedas calling - made me quite homesick, they are the first birds I used to hear upon waking in the morning - definitely a South African experience :)
So you can experience the Hadedas firsthand, I found a video on Youtube, that is very realistic ;)
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