Nom de Plume Rating: ★★★★★
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Once in Africa, I kissed a king…
“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount 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 course 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—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?
*A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.
First Line: “If you had asked Jack Warden what his favorite things were before that afternoon, he would have reeled off a list without hesitation: black coffee, blue skies, driving into town with the windows down, Mount Kilimanjaro wreathed in swirling clouds in his rear-view, and the girl who owned his heart making up the words to the song on the radio.”
Mists of The Serengeti made me raw. I was heartbroken from the first page. Leylah Attar gutted me and wiped my soul of any happiness residing there. How can an author make you feel ungodly amounts of anxiety in one paragraph? I’ll show you how:
Her smile was warm, but her eyes held ghosts. She was beautiful in the quiet way that people with broken hearts are. She led us into a courtyard with fruit trees and a small play area for kids. An empty swing creaked, still swaying, as if it had been hastily abandoned…
Did y’all just read that? … ? HER EYES HELD GHOSTS … My heart beats no more.
But (rest assured) with every page turn, the Leylah-abyss-of-emptiness started to fill with indescribable emotions. I am left in awe and I will forever pay reverence to this book.
Our story starts with Jack and his young daughter, Lily, in the African Savannah. Lily has a dance recital in the local shopping center, and while she’s preparing with the other students, he stops by their car to stash her congratulatory balloons; he doesn’t want them to obstruct anyone’s view (because of course he’s going to sit in the front).
While outside, Jack hears gunshots and realizes the noises are coming from inside the mall… where he just left his daughter. Then there is the explosion.
You lose the people you love. Over and over again. Some get taken away from you. Some walk away. And some you learn to let go.
(Stop it right there. My little heart can not take this pain!)
In England we meet Rodel where she discovers her sister has been killed in that same terrorist attack. Rodel stumbles upon the reason behind why her sister was in Africa, and she promises herself she will finish what her sister started. There’s only one man who can help her.
Two empty souls are recovering from loss. One grieving a child, the other a sister; their spirits guide Rodel and Jack on an incredible journey towards love, life, and forgiveness.
This is what it looks like when you wander somewhere between the sand and stardust, and meet a piece of yourself in someone else.
Through loss, Jack and Rodel are forced to redefine the meaning of family. They must choose. Choose to dwell on their losses, choose each other, choose to release the balloons of the past into the sky.
Leylah Attar, I am one with this book. It’s a story about selflessness, sacrifice, and unfinished business. Jack and Rodel learn to stop harboring blame which allows them to transform a horrific accident into a platform on which they can renew their lives and positively affect the lives of others.
Mists of The Serengeti is a lyrical and vivid illustration of a great love. I felt a juxtaposition of emotions. Exuberance. Pain. The words on the pages a mirage, but obviously tangible and right in front of me. This book is a melody I won’t forget.
I am not sure if my emotions will ever settle. I only know three things: I cried. I laughed. I loved.