You'll be amazed by Jane's story. I am.
Over to Jane...
WHAT A JOURNEY IT’S BEEN!
And so BREATH OF AFRICA was conceived. But very nearly nipped in the bud. For a whole week my mind was absorbed in writing the story. It would take me much longer than expected. And the family were beginning to complain. Meals were late, Mum’s mind was elsewhere, and she never answered questions. She even forgot to pick up somebody from school. This would not do. The typewriter was bundled back under its cover, and my notes hidden away in an untidy file. There is a time for everything…
Thirty years of Kenya's recent history unfold through the lives of Caroline, a privileged woman from the fertile highlands, and Charles Ondiek, a farm labourer with dreams of an Oxford education. Charles’s love for Teresa, daughter of a hated settler farmer, leads to a drama of psychological terror fuelled by Mau Mau oath administrator, Mwangi, who is held in detention for six years.
On his release, Mwangi forces Charles and Teresa apart, then turns his attention to Caroline. But she has inner resources, and joins with Charles to seek out a mysterious ancestral cave.
Against the backdrop of Kenya’s beautiful but hostile desert, the curse is finally broken. But when Caroline discovers the hidden reason for Mwangi’s hatred, she wonders if she'll ever, really, belong in the country she loves.
She tore her eyes away from the gaping hole before her and raised them towards the palm tree on her left. Its swaying trunk bent gently towards the grave. She looked up its ringed bark; up and up until the few green fronds swished against the blue sky. Her eyes squinted and watered at the merciless glare of the heavens, then found rest with a small white cloud.
Brian. Where are you? You know the Answer to Life, now. Can you see me here, my darling? Brian! Her heart cried out and tears welled. Brian – I love you.
The others were at the row of wreaths, reading the labels and standing in hushed groups. Nobody joined her at the graveside. She approached the flowers, and people started to pick them up and turn towards the mound of earth. She found a small wreath. Somebody had written on the label.
To my darling Brian, with love from Caroline and Paul.
Not alone. How silly of me. Thank God for little Paul.
Crooked Cat Books