Author: Trilby Kent
Publisher: Tundra Books
Date Published: March 22, 2011
Source: From Tundra Books giveaway
Corlie Roux’s farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in Africa itself and in the stories she conjures for her brothers.
But Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms. Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy. The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps.
Will Corlie’s resilience and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and squalor she finds in the camp at Kroonstad? That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamed she had….
Number of Days It Took to Read: 1.5
Interesting cover, and while it is not a conventionally attractive cover it’s a very fitting one considering the book’s plot.
The Writing Score: 2.5 out of 5
Recommendation: Casual Perusal
Memorable or Forgettable: Forgettable
Rating: 3 out of 5
This was a rather short book. Still the plot never felt like it was being crammed into the few pages of the book which is a good thing. The story is told from the point of view of a young girl and as such is often recalled with much innocence.
The story itself is very tragic and sad and the writing adds to it by providing such detailed descriptions of the harsh climate in the khaki aka the British concentration camps. Despite being written for children, the authour does not hold back when it comes to describing the living conditions of the camps which includes the diseases that affect many of them in addition to how women and children can easily turn on each other in order to survive.
Unlike many books I have read I did not feel a connection to Corlie, the narrator of the book. However I did enjoy reading about her relationship with her Sipho her best friend who is black as well as her relationship with her younger brother Gert. Although I was not very fond of her as a character, I could not help but feel sorry for her because of how her mother treated her. Even after an explanation was given to try to explain the cause of her mother’s actions I still was not able to sympathize with her mother. After all no matter what happened in her mother’s past I do not think it justifies her treatment of Corlie who is her only daughter.
Overall while there is not much that is extraordinary about this book it is still a good short read in my opinion as it that provides an unflinching look at the Boer Wars from the perspective of the Boer people.
The opinions expressed in this review are my own; I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this review.