Book Review – Amie: An African Adventure

LucindaEClarkeI’ve had this book on my kindle for quite some time now, but what with one thing and another I only recently got round to actually reading it. I really shouldn’t have left it so long as it turned out to be a truly beautiful and enjoyable read. Lucinda E. Clarke’s writing is another discovery via Fb and other social media, along with some wonderful reviews and recommendations from fellow writers and bloggers. As well as Amie: An African Adventure, Lucinda E. Clarke has written three more books, links to which are provided following my review. But first, a little about the author herself…

Born in Dublin, dragged up in the Cotswolds, matured and finished off in Liverpool. Her family were not wildly enthusiastic about following her grandfather into Fleet Street (unfeminine, unreliable and dangerous), so she was packed off to dockland Liverpool to get teaching qualifications (safe, respectable and pensionable).

Lucinda returned south extremely good at self-defence. She married and went crofting in Scotland, a disaster so she says, and bred dogs among other things, less of a disaster. She moved to Kenya with her 3 week old daughter, was abandoned in the bush, then on to Libya, surviving riots, public hangings, an imprisoned husband and eventual deportation. She moved to Botswana – still teaching – and opened and ran a horse riding school with a ‘How to…’ book in hand.

She immigrated to South Africa and taught for four years, but since 1984, she wrote freelance full time, for major corporations, UNESCO, UNICEF and the SABC for both radio and television. Moving into television production in 1986, she has received over 20 awards, specializing in the fields of education, documentaries, municipal and government.

She has also worked on radio in both Libya and South Africa, had a newspaper column, and was commissioned to write two educational text books. In 1996 she set up her own video production company, and retired to Spain in 2008. Well that was the plan…

 

Further links to Lucinda E. Clarke’s writing can be found at:

https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com/

Lucinda E. Clarke’s Amazon Author page:

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Amie: An African Adventure 

By Lucinda E. Clarke

(Available from Amazon in eBook format)

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Amie1My biggest regret about this book is that it had to end at some point, as all books do. It tells the story of young couple’s move to Africa for the husband’s career, particularly that of the wife, Amie. It starts off sedately enough, detailing their preparations and Amie’s initial fears and nervousness about leaving behind everyone she knows and loves and her way of life back in England, charmingly detailing many of the fears any of us might have at such a prospect. After their arrival in Africa, things seem to be working out for Amie as she adapts to and begins to enjoy a very different way of life. Now although I say it starts ‘sedately,’ right from the start the author has already hooked the reader with a harrowing and well-placed preface of things to come, and the reader knows that this is to be no ordinary foreign posting, that danger and adventure are sure to follow their initial settling in.

As the story develops, the author introduces the reader to the real Africa and its way of life for the majority. Yes, Amie lives the comparatively comfortable and indeed luxurious life of an ex patriot, shielded from much of the hardship, but she sees it all around her, and against advice goes out of her way to help as best she can. Within the story, with some truly beautiful writing and turns of phrase, the author  manages to convey a real sense of being in Amie’s shoes, providing the reader a glimpse and real insight into the everyday life and comings and goings of the native population, of the poverty and corruption, and of course the dangers. We also learn though not to judge the culture and ways of the African people in relation to European ways of doing things. Amid the vivid descriptions of Africa, the ex-patriot community, and the local culture, the reader experiences the growing unrest of a volatile society, the dilemmas Amie has to face and deal with, and the sudden and explosive upheaval of an entire country. How she copes with everything around her is a story in itself, and perfectly complements the story of her African adventure.

Quite apart from the story itself, which was thrilling to say the least, I also admired and enjoyed the way Amie adapted and grew as a person, watching her confidence and self-reliance grow a little more every day. We see the transformation of someone initially afraid of travelling much beyond her home town and who probably thought that a package holiday to Spain was the extent of travelling abroad, into a resourceful and determined young woman more than capable of surviving the dangers of wildest Africa. What I would also say here though is that, while there is an element of memoir to the writing, this is still mainly an action and adventure filled tale, and one that won’t disappoint those who like to see the adrenalin flowing in their reading, combining an imaginative and descriptive narrative with just the right degree and tone of dialogue to drive the story forward. If I had but one tiny criticism it would be the cover, which if I’m honest, didn’t quite grab me or in my opinion, reflect or do justice to the story within. Other than that, I’m delighted to say the author is currently writing a much anticipated sequel to this wonderful book.

Further titles by Lucinda E. Clarke: click on thumbnails for Amazon links

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About echoesofthepen

Middle aged man, aspiring writer and author, one grown up son and young grand son, currently working in the rail industry but actively working to develop a writing career.

Posted on July 29, 2015, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much Ian for posting this. I had fun writing the book and even more fun writing the second in the series which I hope will be out next month.

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  2. Fascianting books, and author, Paul. SA is my dream destination.

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  3. Well, as soon as I’ve posted this, I’m off to download this one. Given the author’s background, how could it be anything but authentic and believable? I’m off to SA tomorrow where we’ll be visiting a friend who first moved to Zimbabwe in the 80s followed by The Cape in the 90s. Her work is in one of the Townships there, Fisantekraal. Our daughter worked there for 6 months last year. Your review is not only attention-grabbing, but one of those timely, synchronistic events … Thanks for highlighting this book, which I feel very excited to read.

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  4. A great review Paul, and one which highlights that this is not simply a tale of a young couple going to live and work abroad. It is an adventure, it is exciting, and it is well-written – all of which you’ve mentioned, but importantly as you’ve hinted – there is a lot of the author in there.
    I went on to read ‘Truth, Lies and Propaganda’ and for me, that book demonstrated even more how much of Lucinda is involved in Amie’s character. I have two other tales by Lucinda on my TBR, but they’re waiting patiently …

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