book review

Mists of the Serengeti by Leylah Attar


I was hooked just reading the first line of the Goodreads description. What an adventure!

Goodreads description:

Once in Africa, I kissed a king…

“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”

When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision couse that neither one sees coming.

Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.

Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti 00 children who are worth more dead than alive.

But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss — this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?

“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story — one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”

A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.

Things I loved about the book:

1. The setting. One of the biggest appeals of Leylah Attar’s The Paper Swan was the way she made Mexico come alive. She has always had a way with vivid images. Though not completely surprising that this story will have the same magical atmosphere that you can almost touch, I was pleased nonetheless.

2. The secondary characters. Each character, whether or not they were active voices in the story, made the story whole. From Rodel’s adventurous sister Mo to Jack’s larger-than-life daughter Lily. From the shunned Masaai warrior Bahati to Jack’s outspoken grandmother Goma. From the quiet strength of Scholastica to Bahati’s wise father Olonana. Each colorful character added a coat of paint with every page turned, only making the story more and more vibrant towards the end.

3. The main characters. Oh Rodel and Jack. I have never encountered a more perfect set of main characters, even at the beginning of the story — flaws and all. Both suffering from tragic loss, it was definitely a delight to watch their growth throughout the book — Jack re-emerging from the depths of his guilt, and Rodel breaking out of her reserved shell.

4. The slow burn. Deliciously slow and smooth, it can melt the hardened insides of any man. And the sparks. Oh, the sparks!

5. The language. It’s lyrical and poetic. Absolutely brimming with lines worthy of Thirsty Thursdays.

6. That epilogue. Though the story could’ve ended with the last chapter, that epilogue just put it over the top. Thank you, Leylah Attar, for not leaving your readers with unanswered questions.

This definitely makes it onto my fave pile. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself going back to this story over and over again.

Rating: 5 stars


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