Red Rose Publishing
Electronic ISBN(s): 978-1-60435-251-1
A sweeping tale of love and hate in Colonial Africa. For Celeste Reed, trapped in Kenya, it is a matter of sheer survival, a desperate need to make a home and life. Can Celeste find happiness? Is there any hope for true love? The answers lie in Samburu Hills, a new Historical Romance by author Jennifer Mueller.
For Celeste Reed, her arrival in Colonial Africa is a daunting event. Nothing is like her home in England. Everything is utterly different. On top of this, she is to marry a much older man, one who seems uncaring and unloving. After the wedding, Celeste's trip to her new home in Kenya is one fraught with doubts, fears, and the realization that despite having made the biggest mistake of her short life, she has no alternatives left. Celeste has no choice but to try somehow to make a go of it all.
Upon arriving at her husband Nicholas Marquardt's coffee "ranch" in Kenya, Celeste finds herself confronted with primitive living conditions, which include not only earthen floors and makeshift furniture, but also a resident mistress for her husband. The only redeeming feature is that there are plenty of servants; even if there is no real house that one can call a home. Denied affection by her husband, she forges bonds with these servants.
Celeste keeps her new wedding vows, allows her distant and unfeeling husband to bed with her, and does her best to create a home out of almost nothing. She works hard at this. However, when Nicholas receives praise for all her efforts at a party for their new house, Celeste can do nothing. She discovers she is pregnant, by a man she absolutely detests, and has no other place to go. What kind of future can poor Celeste ever hope to have, for herself, and her unborn child? Can she still find love, or is it already too late? Will she end by returning to England, a defeated and broken woman?
Samburu Hills by Jennifer Mueller is an in-depth look at the life of women in Kenya during the English Colonial Period of Africa. Jennifer Mueller paints a vivid picture of a woman's lot in adverse times, in a strange and distant land. And. Ms. Mueller is very good at descriptions in Samburu Hills. She makes Kenya of the times come alive for the reader.
If I found any fault with the story, it is with incidental matters only. For instance, when Nicholas dies, the tale doesn't tell us how or why at the time, and this for me was an oversight. Also, Jennifer Mueller uses the device of letter writing in Samburu Hills. Although a quick way to update the reader on Celeste's life, how she feels about it, I found this method to be a little distancing, as the reader is now removed to England, and viewing events in Africa through months' old letters that tell of events there. I would have preferred if Ms. Jennifer Mueller kept the immediate feeling she does so well throughout the rest of Samburu Hills.
Also, I felt some of the characters were just a bit two-dimensional, as with Celeste's husband. As readers, we don't hear the motivation as to why he behaves the way he does, what drives him. This holds true for some of the other characters, as well, in my opinion.
However, again, these were only minor problems for me. I very much enjoyed Samburu Hills. Ms. Mueller has a real flair for writing historical romance in a natural, realistic style that makes the reader feel they are right there. Samburu Hills, by Jennifer Meuller, easily deserves a rating of 8 out of a possible 10.
Reviewed By Rob Shelsky
© October 2009