- Amazon Listing: AFRICAN HEARTS
Gina goes to Africa to fulfil her dying brother's wish, but her corporate world is turned upside down when she learns she's guardian of her eight year old nephew she didn’t know existed. How can she take up this responsibility when, three years ago, a child died whilst in her care? Besides, there's little time in her busy corporate life for rearing a boy, let alone knowing how to do that? Her brother's doctor promises her he will give her tips on rearing a boy, but Kam's promise includes wanting to find out what really lies behind her flashy exterior. His probing questions are way too personal for her and the fact that she’s returning to Australia in two weeks’ time is the only way she can keep him at bay. The people of Gumboli village reach out and show her the true meaning of love, making her question her life’s purpose. It isn't until Justin's life is threatened that she realises he is her only living relative and she has a responsibility to save his life. During their care for Justin, her attraction to Kam deepens, but in order to commit to a relationship with him, she has to overcome her prejudices, and Kam has to let go of his painful past. Are they willing to confront their differences, forget the past and step out in faith for the future God has planned for them?
- Reviewed by Nas Dean Romance Book Paradise
AFRICAN HEARTS is a romance that touches the heart with its poignant tale of fresh starts, past wounds and second chances. The inter-racial relationship between Gina and Kam is handled with care and understanding. Laura O’Connell is an author who understands that the best fiction is that which not only gives us great pleasure through deep characters and beautiful prose but challenges us and leaves us emotionally richer and stronger long after we close the book.
Gumboli Village, Uganda
Kamukama Bonsu knelt on the damp ground and straightened the crude wooden cross at the head of his best friend’s grave. Marco Messina had died two weeks ago. Kamukama’s nostrils twitched at the damp earthy odours that floated on the early morning air. His breathing slowed, as sweat from the effort of his run, trickled down the sides of his face and dripped off his chin. The run helped him forget the broiling in the pit of his stomach.
If only he’d kept a closer watch on Marco, reminding him to take his medication whenever it was due, instead of accepting Marco’s casual waving of the arm dismissing him as if it was of no importance. It wasn’t until Marco was bed-ridden, and Achen had kept a close watch on his regimen, that he felt he had some control of Marco’s health, but by then it had been too late. Marco had lost the will to live, and who could blame him? There was only so much a man could take.
Insects buzzed around his face. ‘I miss you, man. There’s a hole deep inside of me I don’t like.’ His voice became a forced whisper because his pain was too great.
Hot tears stung the backs of his eyes. Kamukama picked up a pebble and threw it against a tree trunk where it hit with a dull thunk.
‘You’re sister hasn’t come yet, Marco. You said she’d come. Maybe she didn’t get the letter…’
Kamukama swallowed and stared at his trembling hands, another habit formed during the past couple of days because he was alone as leader of Gumboli now. He was brough up to be a leader of a Ugandan village and now he had the opportuntiy to prove himself he wasn’t sure he was the man for the job. His first challenge was how to preserve the excess food they produced. Dought would come again in the future and they needed to be prepared by having money or stores of grain to get them through bad times again.
He stood up to his full one hundred and ninety-five centimetres. Yes, he was fit and strong, but he needed more than physical strength. Marco wanted to raise a team to build a better Gumboli with a modern hospital, food surplus and safety for the people. They’d begun to build the team, but now that Marco was gone, the men had lost interest and were returning to their old ways of idleness and expecting hand-outs. No time for negativity. He had to push on and honour Marco’s wishes.
As a child, he was told not to worry about tomorrow, because he had to deal with today first. He never really understood the meaning of those words until two days ago, when people came to him seeking answers for their and Gumboli’s future. Only time would tell if he was the one called to lead Gumboli into the twenty-first century.