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This collection is marvellous, let me tell ya. COVID is driving me (and everyone else, it seems) insane. Being stuck inside, being forced to work to pay bills, being scared and anxious and worried... We're all in the same boat, even when we're not. We're all in this together. And this book reminds readers of this.

Faith Adiele's The New Old Vocabulary showed me COVID from a very different angle. I'm up in Canada, just chilling at home, doing full time school and reading my little heart out. I'm picking up new hobbies and trying my best, but her comments... It put life into a perspective. I complained about being alone, but having the opportunity to be semi-safe, but not everyone in the U.S.A. is. The stats about African American men being arrested when they're just trying to help homeless people... It hurts. It makes my soul ache. Really ache.

Andre Dubus the Third's story made my eyes well up, reading about his mother-in-law's thoughts on COVID. It hurt. It hurt real bad. But at the same time, it made me not feel alone. I'm not the only one questioning why this is here. It made humanity feel so much better than the crazies in my town screaming and threatening each other if they get 10 feet near them.

Laura Stanfill's story about Priya... It makes me weep. It's so close to home, yet so beautifully written. Grace Talusan's also made my heart feel so sad. Jean Kowk's gave me hope, and made my heart sing because I related to it in so many ways.

Then there's more poems, and essays, and interviews, and short stories throughout. Some will bring tears, some will open your eyes and some will give you hope. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a piece of work in this for everyone. It'll make you feel connected to a community you didn't know was there. It made me feel more at home then I have in months, which is a feat all in itself. It's nice knowing that we're not alone in this big battle.

There's love, hate, fear and hope throughout. This is one absolutely incredible collection that I am so happy and proud of picking up. We need books to remind us of our humanity sometimes, and this book did it.

Also, the reminders of George Floyd, and the racism and hate that still lingers... It's as bad as COVID, if not worse. Because racism is avoidable if people could be kind, COVID and super viruses, not as much.

We need justice.

Five out of five stars.
 
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Briars_Reviews | 6 outras críticas | Aug 4, 2023 |
Come As You Are by Jennifer Haupt is a recommended novel that is part family drama, part coming-of-age story.

Zane and Skye meet as creative, lonely young teens, 14 and 12, and become best friends. As Zane is the lead singer for his band, the two become part of Seattle’s grunge scene in the early ’90s and dream of moving to LA. Then an accident happens to Skye's sister that totally changes their world. The two become lovers, Skye becomes pregnant and they leave their homes and any support system behind. Now, ten years later Zane has been long gone for years, Skye is a single mother to daughter Montana (Tana) and is newly engaged to Aaron. The Skye's estranged father dies, Zane calls her, and she decides to finally return to Seattle after a long absence.

The narrative unfolds through a dual timeline, alternating between the early 90's in Seattle and the present, in 2002, in New Mexico. There are also flashbacks. Often I appreciate novels that use alternating timelines, but the plot device wasn't entirely successful in this novel. Perhaps it was the number of transitions between the earlier time period and 2002, as well as flashbacks, that made this narrative device seem an overly confusing ploy rather than a good choice to propel the plot forward. After sticking with the novel, it was easier to just go along with the writing choice in order to find out what happens.

Many readers will be entranced by the depiction of the early grunge scene in Seattle. Really, much of this novel consists of characters coming-of-age while all repeatedly making bad choices and bad decisions as they deal with family drama. That can be entertaining whether you find the characters appealing or not. The characters can be a bit frustrating because of their choices, but, then, much of that is due to immaturity. The ending wasn't entirely believable for me, however, plenty of readers are going to enjoy Come As You Are.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Central Avenue Publishing via NetGalley.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2022/12/come-as-you-are.html
 
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SheTreadsSoftly | 3 outras críticas | Dec 7, 2022 |
Historical fiction about three women coming to terms with grief and seeking personal peace in Rwanda. Each of the three primary characters has experienced loss. All are connected to Henry Shepherd, a photojournalist, who has abandoned two families. The storyline revolves around the unraveling the mystery of Henry’s disappearance, while gaining an understanding of how the people of Rwanda are coping with the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.

This is an American look at an African tragedy. It is about a search for family and the healing of wounds, some of which are so deep they may never be mended or forgiven. This book involves multiple narrators and jumps back and forth to different timelines from before, during, and years after the genocide. Haupt includes enough information about Rwanda’s history without overgeneralizing. This is an ambitious novel, covering a variety of complex interpersonal relationships and tackling heavy subjects such as race, grief, compassion, loneliness, belonging, and vulnerability.

Haupt’s writing is beautifully detailed and descriptive, providing a sense of place and community. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the conclusion is satisfying. There are a few plot holes and inconsistencies, and the inclusion of a romance seems unnecessary, but this is a promising debut.
 
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Castlelass | 13 outras críticas | Oct 30, 2022 |
This is the second book I have read by author, Jennifer Haupt. I am not disappointed. In fact, I am looking forward to reading her next book. As soon as I started reading this book, I was instantly transported back in time. It is as if I could see everyone as clear as if they were standing in front of me.

Zane and Skye shared a complex history that was filled with sorrow, heartache, friendship, and love. Yet, the way that they interacted with each other was lovely. They showed how much they grew from the teenagers that they were to the adults that they had become.

This book is very character driven and I am all for it. Thus, the reason that I enjoyed this book so much and Jennifer as an author. She really does infuse such life into her characters. This is a book you will want to check out.
 
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Cherylk | 3 outras críticas | Mar 14, 2022 |
Rachel, the main character, searches for her father who walked out on her and her mother when she was young, landing her in Rwanda a few years after the Hutus committed genocide against the Tutsi. During her stay there she learns the impact of the slaughter on families on both sides of the conflict. I struggled with this book but I’m struggling to understand why. It’s well-written and gives a lot of insight into what happened. It’s told from the perspective of some Americans who have found their way into this particular place. They are meant to be sympathetic. But compared to the Tutsi survivors, I just don’t have much pity for their first-world problems. I get it, they are genuine issues such as a father walking out on a family, miscarriage, adoption, etc. But it just doesn’t compare to the character whose family was murdered and she was brutalized.½
 
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KarenMonsen | 13 outras críticas | Feb 20, 2022 |
The protagonists are Skye Albright and Zane O’Rourke, two kids in Seattle who bond over their outsider status and their love of music and its ability to express their alienation as well as their dreams. When they meet in 1987, Skye is 12 and Zane, who lives across the street, is 14. The novel goes back and forth in time, ending up when they are both almost 30.

When Skye was 17, her older sister Lauren died in an accident. After the funeral, Skye became pregnant and left home. She told her parents in a note she needed to figure out who she was “without Lauren or my parents, or anyone.” She didn’t call home until she was seven months pregnant, only telling them about the baby then. It was also the last time she spoke to her father.

In 2002, Skye is living in Albuquerque. Her daughter Montana is nine and she is engaged to a caring Native American man from the Sandia Pueblo named Aaron. All is going well until she gets a call from Zane, the first time she has heard from him in six years. Then her mother calls as well, to tell Skye that her father died, and she knows that is why Zane called; he was hoping to see her and Montana at the funeral.

Aaron immediately gets that Skye has unfinished business with Zane - unfinished feelings about him, as well as unspoken truths that need to be uncovered.

Skye has to figure out who she is in love with, and whether the wounds of the past can be healed if she is to move forward with her life.

Evaluation: I had a hard time liking this book because I couldn’t stand either Skye or Zane. They seemed like realistic characters though, sad to say. I think they found more satisfaction at the end than I did as a reader.½
 
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nbmars | 3 outras críticas | Oct 28, 2021 |
This beautifully written novel takes place in several locations during the years 1987-2002. It's about two teenagers who are basically outcasts at school becoming best friends and ultimately parents. They plan to move from Seattle to LA so that Zane can get discovered as a musician while Skye works on her art. They are best friends until Skye's sister dies in an accident and they make love on the evening of her funeral and Skye becomes pregnant. Life becomes uncomfortable at home when her parents find out about the pregnancy. They are still grieving their daughter's death and don't want Skye burdened with a child at her young age. Skye decides that she's had enough and runs away to Montana. Zane follows her but by then he's too hooked on drugs to be any help to her or to himself. After he leaves, Skye moves to New Mexico with her infant named Montana. She meets Aaron and his mother and they make Skye and Montana part of their family and eventually Aaron and Skye fall in love. When Zane re-enters her life after 10 years, his goal is to be a real father to Montana and both Zane and Aaron want her to make a choice between them. Skye is still in love with Zane - or maybe she's really in love with the person she wants him to be. She has to make a decision to go back to her past and try to make a life with Zane or move forward into the future with Aaron.

This is a fantastic book - Skye and Zone are real written and very believable as characters, the references to the Seattle grunge scene are right on and the ending of the book is absolutely perfect. This novel is about family and love, acceptance and forgiveness and asks the question of how much parents need to alter their lives for the good of their children.

Thanks to netgalley for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
 
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susan0316 | 3 outras críticas | Oct 26, 2021 |
At the epicenter of this novel is the elusive Henry Shepherd, who we never really meet, nor understand, except by inference. Henry's daughter Rachel, loses her mother to cancer and has her second miscarriage, setting her adrift for emotional support, that her husband does not seem to be able to provide. Rachel heads off to the Rift Valley (in the shadow of 10,000 hills) in Rwanda to speak to his long-time partner: a black woman, Lillian Carlson, who was a central figure in a photo he took of Martin Luther King, helping to launch Henry's photography career. (Their early relationship was shattered by racism in Atlanta.) Lillian's desire to make a difference carries her to Rwanda, where she establishes a farm for orphans and abandoned children. Very complex relationships are interwoven with the story of atrocities perpetrated on the Tutsi population by the Hutu tribe, and especially on one of the children living with Lillian, Nadine, who is pressured to testify about the senseless slaughter of her friends and neighbors. I found the book very depressing, although not because of the horrors of genocide, as one would naturally assume, but Rachel's post partum depression. The upside is that Haupt did a nice job with the theme of forgiveness and leaving the past behind.
 
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skipstern | 13 outras críticas | Jul 11, 2021 |
This book about a group of people who are tied together through circumstance and their existence after the genocide in Rwanda was warm, well written and a story of hope. The main characters all experienced so much loss but together they were able to comes to terms with it and to move forward. I loved all of the characters and was rooting for them all. Highly recommended.½
 
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tinkerbellkk | 13 outras críticas | May 24, 2021 |
This book really spoke to me on an intimate personal level. It helped me to feel that I’m not alone with my feelings during this pandemic. It was great to see that I am not alone in feeling angry, sad, scared, anxious. I love the mixture of essay, poems, interviews. Wonderful. I could not put it down, highly recommended.
 
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IanFisher | 6 outras críticas | May 23, 2021 |
In The Shadow of 10,000 Hills In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills is a deeply moving story that takes you from the strife of Atlanta during the Civil Rights Movement, through the struggle in post-genocide Rwanda. The book is a riveting page-turner. One that is not easily put down and definitely not easily forgotten
Memorable characters will make you feel a part of their lives as they deal with family conflict, love and profound loss. I would highly recommend this book.
 
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SharleneMartinMoore | 13 outras críticas | Apr 24, 2021 |
I didn't end up reading all of the selections in this book, mostly because I don't generally love poetry. My favorite part of this book is the way the authors tell stories so quickly. I felt like I could get my bearings easily, helping me connect my circumstances to these people I have never met and will never meet. Each story, whether in the love, grief, or comfort section, had traces of each emotion and situation. This really is a complex time to be alive, but seeing how things can be all three things at once gives me a little more hope.

I found this e-book to be easy to get, even with the recent release date. I'd recommend it to those who are comfortable accepting the present situations, if you still live in the past tense this isn't the book for you. The grief stories seemed to encapsulate the same feel as memories I've heard people tell of when they first heard about 9/11. The moment when things seem real is important to record, even if it is hard. This book will be applicable even after COVID-19 stops being a high-priority issue.
1 vote
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Emma.June.Lyon | 6 outras críticas | Feb 23, 2021 |
This collection of short stories and poems are touching, filled with tons of emotions, and all together moving. The way this book is formatted is that it is broken out into sections...love, grief, and comfort. There were several stories and or poems that I connected towards better then others. Yet no matter whether I "loved" or "liked" a story or poem is besides the point.

The overall importance of this collection is that it showed that no matter what walk of life we come from; we are all connected. If you are an introvert or extrovert, during this pandemic you realize that family, friends, and human interaction are very much needed. Just a smile or to have a conversation with someone in person can make some one's day. This book is worth your time to read. If anything I think this book is very appropriate for present times.
 
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Cherylk | 6 outras críticas | Sep 3, 2020 |
"Pick up your pen and write. Pick up a book and read. Engage in your world; do not shrink from it." - Garth Stein

I'm excited to be sharing ALONE TOGETHER: Love, Grief & Comfort During the Time of COVID-19 as a part of Kate Rock Book Tours. This collection of essays, interviews & poems about the authors' experiences during the pandemic comes out September 1st. All proceeds go to @thinkingbinc, a nonprofit that benefits the bookselling community.

"In telling our stores, we hope to enable you to tell your story. That's the sweet spot of connections, where the healing happens." - Jennifer Haupt

ALONE TOGETHER is divided into five sections: What Now?, Grieve, Comfort, Connect & Don't Stop & focuses on how isolation & uncertainty is changing us as individuals & a society.

"So many of us, across political, racial, and socioeconomic lines, are grieving, but the question is how we'll deal with it all. Will it paralyze us or motivate us?" - David Sheff

I wasn't sure I was ready to read about Covid. Books are usually an escape for me & I worried this might add to my stress but it did the opposite. It helped to read about how others felt and their hope and optimism in the midst of this universal struggle.

"How are we going to make our blues beautiful? It's all about perspective." - Kwame Alexander

There are 91 authors in the ebook & audiobook (with 69 in the print book) & each viewpoint is enlightening in its own way.

"We grieve the chance to celebrate those we love in what used to be the big moments in life, in the time before every moment of life itself seemed so big." - Meg Waite Clayton

ALONE TOGETHER left me feeling that although our lives are now divided into before Covid & after, there's a good chance that our new world will be one that has positives we never imagined.

"We had very busy lives that would sometimes pull us in different directions, but in this period of lockdown, we have learned to make time for each other again." - Jean Kwok

Thank you to Kate Rock Book Tours, NetGalley, Central Avenue Publishing & author for an ARC to review.
 
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ReadingIsMyCardio | 6 outras críticas | Sep 1, 2020 |
This book is a collection of essays, poems and interviews from over 90 authors and poets about how COVID 19 has affected them and their lives. The essays are a powerful testament to the unprecedented times that the world is going through collectively. Some of essays made me laugh and some made me cry, just like life right now. It was wonderful to read these pieces of literature to remind me that I'm not alone in my feelings of loss - loss of freedom, loss of friends and family and a loss of the life we were living before the pandemic struck.

ALONE TOGETHER is divided into five sections: What Now?, Grieve, Comfort, Connect, And Don't Stop. The main theme is how this age of isolation and uncertainty is changing us as individuals and a society. It's a connection for those of us who are depressed about what is going on and fearful of the changes that may occur in our futures. I was crushed by the essays that spoke of family members and friends who had died from COVID19 and the essays about people who lived by themselves and were truly alone. I was uplifted by the people who were helping their neighbors by buying groceries or baking for them. I was happy to see all of the ways that people were using to connect with other people. But most of all, I was relieved to know that others were feeling the same sense of loss and confusion, the same worries about the future and their loved ones as I am. The book left me with a feeling of connection to others as we al struggle on a daily basis and hope and pray for a better future for the world.
 
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susan0316 | 6 outras críticas | Aug 14, 2020 |
We are experiencing an unprecedented time. A time, a trial of so many things out of our control. Yet, as this book makes very clear, we are not experiencing it alone.

Interviews, poems, essays by some favored authors, as well as some new to me authors, describe their own experiences, feeling of this time. All the things we feel, not knowing what day it is, yearning for the chance to hug, see a loved one, fear of what will be left when, if this is ever over, are all things we share. There are humorous things, one authors husband who was a germophobe before Covid, now is thrilled that he can use as much bleach as he wants. There are sad things, things to comfort, things to ponder, honest, feelings expressed.

Positive things, such as the beneficial effect on the environment. Using nature as a solace, a way to heal connect. It's what I've been using, that and occasional family visits. The book did leave me with a feeling of connection and showed me that even the funky feeling I can't shake, is normal and I'm not alone.

ARC from Netgalley.
 
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Beamis12 | 6 outras críticas | Aug 1, 2020 |
The setting for In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills is Lillian's home, aptly named Kwizera. In the African language kinyarwands, the word kwizera means belief and hope. It is belief and hope that Nadine, Lilian, and Rachel all hold on to and that keeps them going. Their belief and hope becomes a commentary on the war and genocide of Rwanda. Ultimately, this is a book about survival and about the triumph of hope and love, a memorable story and history that should be remembered.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/09/in-shadow-of-10000-hills.html

Reviewed for NetGalley
 
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njmom3 | 13 outras críticas | Sep 24, 2018 |
After Rachel miscarries, she has trouble recovering from her loss. She decides to find her father, who left her and her mother when she was young, and that search sends her to Rwanda, to her father's second wife, in the hopes of luring him home.

I have conflicted feelings about this novel. There were many things that worked well. Author Jennifer Haupt keeps the focus on Americans in this novel, primarily on Rachel, but also on two African American aid workers who came to Rwanda before the violence, and remained to help rebuild and also because, after years in Rwanda, they had built important relationships. Haupt spent just a month there interviewing people about their experiences and looking at the connection between forgiveness and grief, and so choosing to write about the genocide from a viewpoint just slightly removed was probably wise.

But centering the novel on a self-involved white American whose own pain looked so small in the face of what the people around her had endured was less inspired. While keeping the focus on Rachel makes the book more immediately accessible, it pays for this by keeping the Rwandan characters and their experiences at an arm's length. They never felt like real people, just foils for Rachel to demonstrate her goodness and pain on. The contrived dramatic conflict at the end of the novel felt unnecessary and badly handled, once again making the interests of the American visitor more important than those of the people living there.

There are far too few novels about what happened in Rwanda published here, so any attempt is to be lauded, but I'm waiting for the book that puts the focus on the country and its citizens, rather than on the problems of a comfortable Westerner.
2 vote
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RidgewayGirl | 13 outras críticas | May 30, 2018 |
In her introduction to 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills', Michelle Halket admits that she was never one to follow the news. But the news about Rwanda in 1994 consumed her. She writes, “A few years later, I was working at a large firm and met a woman from Rwanda. My face dropped and she said to me in surprise, ‘You know?’ I told her that of course I do, doesn’t everyone? She looked immensely sad, lowered her face and said, ‘No, they don’t.’ I’ve carried her face and words with me since then: the world didn’t know (or care) about Rwanda.”

This sentiment is my blog's (pickingbooks.com) raison d'être, fostering the urge to learn about the people who have both bolstered society and sought to destroy it. So, because my biggest concern in 1994 was how I was finally going to stop biting my nails and not what was happening halfway around the world, 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills' by Jennifer Haupt opened my eyes to the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Summary of 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills'

After a miscarriage, Rachel feels the urge to seek out her estranged photojournalist father Henry who she learns lived in Rwanda. She travels to Rwanda 10 years after the genocide to meet Lillian. Originally from Georgia, Lillian operates an orphanage in Rwanda that she and Henry built together. During her stay, Rachel learns about her father while witnessing how Rwandan’s are coming to terms with the genocide.

Haupt also visited Rwanda a decade after the genocide. On her bio page, Haupt explains that she traveled to Rwanda as a journalist “to explore the connections between forgiveness and grief.” She writes, “It struck me that the common human bond, the thing that ties us all together and transcends our differences, is grief. My quest became more about finding grace — personal peace — than forgiveness. In Rwanda, they have a word for this: Amahoro. It means peace, but so much more. This is the core theme of the novel I worked on for eleven years. Now, more than ever, I believe the world needs Amahoro.”

I hope that grief isn’t the only thing that transcends our differences, but it is a powerful unifier. Haupt makes a valuable point about Amahoro though. The genocide is unforgivable, but it happened. The only way for Rwandan’s to move past it is to make peace or Amahoro with it. In 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills', Nadine, Lillian and Henry’s adopted daughter, has the best story arc relating the genocide and the idea of personal peace.

Who Should Read 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills'

In her introduction, Halket also points out that the three leading ladies in In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills come from different backgrounds, but they all work together and support each other. This juxtaposed against the close-mindedness that caused the genocide makes 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills' a beautiful work of art.

I can’t think of anyone wouldn’t like 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills.' It is the best book I’ve read since starting by blog Picking Books. 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills' is not mass-market fiction, but it reads like it is. The characters are authentic and unforgettable, the pacing is spot on, and it makes you think. Although it does deal with the serious issue of the Rwandan genocide, 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills' is not depressing. Instead, it is both moving and hopeful.

For an in-depth look at the genocide as it relates to 'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills' visit https://pickingbooks.com/blog/in-the-shadow-of-10000-hills
 
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Picking_Books | 13 outras críticas | May 19, 2018 |
After the loss of her mom, Rachel is looking for information about her father, who abandoned her at a young age. The search leads her to Rwanda, where she meets Lillian Carson. Lillian left the U.S. after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and opened a quasi-orphanage. As Rachel learns about the genocide, and the aftermath, she also discovers information about her father, and who she really is.

This was a fantastic book. It was engaging, well written and fast paced. The characters were fascinating, and really felt alive. This may be one of the best books I've read throughout the year. I look forward to reading more from this author.
 
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JanaRose1 | 13 outras críticas | Apr 11, 2018 |
I received a free e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. This is a powerful and haunting story set in post genocide Rwanda. A young, American woman comes to Rwanda searching for her father who left her and her mother when she was very young looking for answers as to why he left them and now why he left Rwanda. What really happened to her father? Jennifer Haupt writes a heart wrenching and emotional story that I couldn’t put down. This is an extremely well written piece of historical fiction with excellent character development. The author writes in a way that makes the reader feel all the emotions of the tortured and murdered, the torturers and murderers, and the witnesses to the mass murders. After all this some find hope, courage, and compassion to heal and rebuild their lives and to move forward searching for peace while others are so damaged that they seem to never find the peace that they are searching for. This is a wonderfully told story that is well worth the read and I look forward to reading more from Jennifer Haupt in the future.
 
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iadam | 13 outras críticas | Apr 4, 2018 |
This is a beautifully written book. You need to know that first. It is one you should select with caution, however, because while it is a story of what a family is - and isn't, it is set in the aftermath of the genocide that took place in Rwanda. The Hutus and the Tutsis were both involved in a horrible civil war, and the atrocities committed by some haunt the survivors.

So if you are sensitive to the realities of the genocide, consider that about this book. There are sections that were so very difficult to go through, but the most important message of the book was that the family we build can help us to overcome the nightmares of horror. Hope and love are essential to survival of some of the ugliness that can be lurking in our neighbors and communities. That message is especially timely, or so it seems to me.

This is my unbiased review of the e-ARC I received from #NetGalley of #InTheShadowof10,000Hills.
 
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ptkpepe98 | 13 outras críticas | Apr 2, 2018 |
Rachel Shepherd decides to try and find her father, Henry Shepherd, who abandoned her when she was eight years old. Her quest brings her to Rwanda to meet Lillian, a woman who looks after orphans on her farm. Lillian also had a long-term relationship with Henry, and Rachel hopes Lillian can answer her questions about Henry. While in Rwanda, Rachel learns some things about her father but also learns about the Rwandan Genocide, especially as it affected Nadine, Lillian’s adopted daughter.

Multiple points of view are given; those of Rachel and Lillian predominate but those of Nadine and Tucker, a doctor who lives on Lillian’s farm, and even Henry are also included at times. Each of them is living with intense grief; all have, in some way, lost loved ones. They are all trying to find amahoro, the Kinyarwanda word for “peace.” To find this inner peace, they must learn to forgive; only by doing so can they find hope and learn to truly love.

It is Nadine’s story which is most compelling. Though she survived the genocide, she cannot forget it. Like all Rwandans, she must live next to those who participated in the killings and rapes. Lillian mentions, “’Most of us don’t expect justice, not really. . . . The goal of the gacaca [trials] is reconciliation and forgiveness. . . . Not so much letting go [of the past] as finding a way to live with it.’” Providing a personal, individual perspective on the genocide is the novel’s most noteworthy element.

I cannot say that I really enjoyed the book. There are many things about it that annoyed me. First of all, Rachel is so self-centred and whiny at the beginning that it is difficult to connect with her. She wants her husband to say “I don’t blame you” and she needs to know that her father loved her and she needs her husband to tell her he needs her. Everything is about her! Then her approach to finding her father makes no sense. I understand that getting her to Rwanda is crucial for her transformation and for the novel’s thematic development, but if she can use the internet to find Lillian’s email address, why doesn’t she use it to try and locate her father? Only much latter does she say, “I’ve been thinking, I’ll go look for him.’” Lillian responds to Rachel’s first email by saying she wishes she could help Rachel. Why, then, doesn’t she give the information she does have about Henry’s last whereabouts?

There are other things that bothered me. Caribou are North American reindeer but they are also found in Africa? What’s the deal with the stolen laptop? It is never mentioned again. Why does Christian keep Rachel’s passport? A man who was abandoned as a child would abandon his own child? One moment Rachel “jackknifes the bike into the grassy ditch and jumps off” and the next minute she claims that someone “’drove right over it’”? Rachel is Jewish (claiming “Her mother insisted that they attend services for the high holidays every year to ask for absolution for their sins and then start fresh again on Rosh Hashanah”), yet she “misses waking up early on Christmas morning, as excited as a kid”? Rachel brings a snow globe with her to Africa and her father travels around the continent with “several jars of peanut butter”? Henry goes to Africa because Lillian writes to him and because “The Life photo editor said he would be interested in seeing some follow-up shots of the girl [who] . . . devoted her life to caring for orphans in Africa,” but later he has “only a vague notion of finding Lillian and photographing her farm.” Yet even later, he decides “It’s time to go find Lillian’s farm, take the photos he came for.” How can Rachel claim “Her father told her stories about Kwizera [Lillian’s farm]” when he had not yet been there and received only one letter from Lillian? A student would be expelled from university for failing a midterm exam? Rachel’s mother “didn’t want their daughter to be alone in the world, without a family” and asks Henry to come see Rachel but then tells him to leave almost as soon as he arrives? I read an eARC so perhaps some of these problems will be rectified, but these types of discrepancies (and there are many others I didn’t mention) affected my enjoyment of and appreciation for the book.
Rachel’s development and the insight into the Rwandan Genocide make this book a worthwhile read. However, it needs considerable editing and is unduly lengthy. Parts of it are also predictable, the romance being a prime example.

Note: I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski).
 
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Schatje | 13 outras críticas | Apr 1, 2018 |
A tapestry of lives revolving around one man; a father, a husband, a lover, who inadvertently brings together the different women in his life. Centered around both the US Civil Rights Movement and the 1994 Rwandan slaughter, Haupt entwines the histories of two nations within the stories of these women who are searching for hope, humanity and love, and who ultimately find themselves and the peace they need.
The subject matter is tragic, raw and heartbreaking, yet Haupt shines that light of hope throughout. This one is powerful.
*I received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review
 
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KimMcReads | 13 outras críticas | Jan 29, 2018 |
This is a beautiful well written novel about a horrific event in world history - the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. It's about love and creating our families not from blood but from the people who mean the most to us.

The book follows the intertwining stories of three women. Lillian who left the US after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and went to Rwanda hoping to help children in Rwanda. She runs a small orphanage taking care of children both physically and mentally. Nadine, one of the children raised by Lillian is now a college student but has terrible memories of a massacre in her village. Rachel, an American girl who is searching for her father who abandoned her as a child to follow Lillian and become a photo-journalist in Rwanda. These three women share a deep bond of loss and love and hopefully forgiveness set against a backdrop of the beauty of Africa.

I am normally a very fast reader but read this book slowly because the writing is so beautiful and the descriptions of the country are so lovely. It honestly is one of the best books that I've read in a long time.

The author dedicates her book "To all of those searching for amarhoro." The word amarhoro translates to 'peace' but in Rwanda it conveys sorrow for the past and hope for the future. Amarhoro is something that we all need in our lives.

Thanks to the author for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
 
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susan0316 | 13 outras críticas | Jan 28, 2018 |
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