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Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  668 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
In 1949, Rosamond Halsey Carr, a young fashion illustrator living in New York City, accompanied her dashing hunter-explorer husband to what was then the Belgian Congo. When the marriage fell apart, she decided to stay on in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. Land of a Thousand Hills is Carr's thrilling memoir of her life in Rwanda--a love affair wit ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Plume (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 16, 2011 Bobbi rated it really liked it
If you've seen Gorillas in the Mist or read Dian Fossy's book by the same name you will recognize Rosamond Carr as the caring woman who befriended Dian when others would only criticize. Rosamond Carr's story of the four decades spent in Rwanda is captivating, frightening, beautiful, and thoroughly amazing. She went to Africa with her much older husband in 1949 and fell in love with the beauty and people of Rwanda. After their divorce, she could not tear herself away from the country and remained ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Rosamond Halsey Carr's life in Rwanda, spanning approximately 50 years in the country, was memorable and inspiring. Her memoir is beautifully written, full of details that are earthy and human but also elegant and, at times, tragic. She never wallows in self-pity, even when she is rebuilding her home at age 82. Perhaps a whole book could be written about her friendship with Dian Fossey or her experience during the 1990s war and genocide, but those are just a few chapters in this fascinating memo ...more
Dec 26, 2008 Denise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Through this well written memoir you get to learn a lot about Africa, specially about Rwandas history. Rosamund's life story is very interesting, the choices she made, the oportunities life offered to her and that she took. It's great to see all the good deeds she made and the things she achieved inspite of all the caos Rwanda has gone through in the last decades. She takes care of lots of orphan kids and shelters them at her property. She does her best to help these kids become the best they c ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Amazing reminder of how beautifully a life will bloom when we don't close up just because we step into thorns along the way. Thank you, Roz, for showing us hOw to bloom even in our own thorn bushes.
Nov 25, 2015 Grizabella rated it really liked it
Fascinating and a page turner for sure. Makes me want to read "Gorillas in the Mist" and other books to learn more about Rwanda. Highly recommended!
Nov 07, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it
Somehow the author managed to make her life sound less interesting than she really was. The style felt amateurish; I was surprised to check and find it was published by a regular publishing house, because the writing seemed similar to what you find in self-published/small press publishers. (No offense to small presses, but they put out those niche books that appeal to specific interests and don't need to work for mainstream. They're not amateurish, but the editing is different, or so it seems to ...more
Sarah-rose Gillespie
The author has lead an interesting life, especially for a single woman living mostly alone in Rwanda. I enjoyed her inside info and opinions on her friend Diane Fossey and her dedicated work with saving the mountain gorillas; I hadn't expected that at all. Overall I think it was a a good read but not a life changing one or one that I will remember for a long time to come like some other books I have read. It provides in a non-dry manner a clear view of politics and everyday life in Rwanda (then ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Derek rated it it was amazing
This was a surface-level account of the events in Rwanda of the past sixty years and how they affected individual citizens, moreso than trying to serve as an impartial global document of the situations (even if the individuals for the most part were not indigenous). It was very interesting to have the author continue to refer to the pre-genocide Tutsi as 'cockroaches' and offer only a seemingly grudging appreciation toward the Tutsi who eventually ended it. I found the stories were enhanced by c ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Neeta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a very informative memoir of an American woman who married a British man who was an African explorer. They moved to central Africa in 1949 at the time it was colonized by the Belgians. She fell in love with the country and people of Rwanda and made it her home, leading a fascinating life that took her through a history of decolonization, peace time, political strife, war and revolution, and genocide in Rwanda. The writing is very good, although not poetic. She really cuts to the chase in ...more
Yvonne Stephenson
Jun 21, 2015 Yvonne Stephenson rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This is the story about the life of Rosamond Halsey Carr, who in the 1940s goes to Rwanda to live. It is told by the author with the help of one of her nieces. She lived most of her life in Rwanda. She learned to love the people. When she was old she had to learn how to live in a place where the civil war destroyed everything good.

I did not think the story was well written. There were many things the author did not understand and was therefore unable to tell the story so the reader could fully
Feb 13, 2008 Onay rated it really liked it
I leave for Rwanda in less than two weeks. I have read a number of books on the country. Most of them are about its recent tragic history. Important to read, there is no doubt, but I wanted to go to the country with an open, positive approach. I had to put a rest to those other books as my mood was turning dark. I did find though that I was still picking up books on this country when I was at the library, needing to know more about Rwanda.

I am very pleased to have found this book. It is a story
Ted Olinger
Jul 12, 2013 Ted Olinger rated it really liked it
What a beautiful book and all the more for doing what great stories do, in my view, which is to show how we do not know ourselves by accident, even if it is only through one accident of fate after another that we come to know ourselves at all. This is a stark and moving memoir of a young woman out of her depth in life and in love, a newlywed who emigrates from the U.S. to Rwanda in 1952 to find herself soon alone and learning to run a colonial era plantation on her wits and fortitude. Her story ...more
Apr 13, 2010 Melitta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An autobiography of another one of these amazing courageous, strong women. This time an American, born early in the 20th century, and the life she makes for herself in the Congo and Rwuanda, with and despite her husband (who is despicable). The great thing about this book is that it shows how she changed along with the century, although she was never as bad as many of the other white farmers who set up life in Africa. Clearly a few strong African men enabled her to do what she did. This book als ...more
Lit Bug
Jun 25, 2013 Lit Bug rated it it was amazing
This is a thought-provoking memoir of the author's life in Rwanda, leaving behind her prosperous and promising life in the First world. Married to a renowned hunter Kenneth, she followed him to Belgium-ruled Africa where their marriage disintegrated and resulted in divorce, but her affectionate relationship with him remained stable till his death nevertheless. Her separation from him, however, granted her a new life - an adventurous life as a plantation manager-turned owner, her remarkable frien ...more
Aug 24, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
Although the storyline is occasionally choppy--jumping back and forth in time in ways that are a bit confusing--Carr is able to make you see her home in Rwanda as the most beautiful place on earth and the most terrifying. Having never traveled anywhere in her life, she leaves New York with her husband in the 1940s and sails for Africa, not realizing that it will become her home for the rest of her life.

Her extreme love of both the Congo and Rwanda remain steady throughout the turbulent end of t
Dec 30, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok
Shelves: africa
I love the idea of this story, a true one of an American woman who follows the man she loves to Rwanda and lives an adventure about which I have dreamed. But in reality her writing style really bugged me, not to mention the fact that she repeated herself and treated the reader as incompetent at following the storyline on his/her own. It is Out of Africa-esque, but in my opinion a far cry from the depth of Karin Blixen's story.

In Belgium and France I met many Rwandais all of whom had loved ones
Jul 25, 2015 Jeannette rated it liked it
Maybe you have to care about gorillas or Rwanda, or Africa in order to enjoy this biography. But I think it's a good memoir period. Roz Carr's lifestyle, her adventures and commitment to Rwanda are inspiring and a model for young intrepids anywhere. Actually living through and reporting her views of the genocide make the book worth reading, that is, if you are concerned with the future of human and many other primates.
Marcia Call
May 17, 2011 Marcia Call rated it really liked it
So this is the white settler book on Rwanda ... and what a beautiful piece it is. Of course, it was a different place in time, i.e. colonial times. However, Rosamond has a wonderful appreciation for the people who worked for her and with whom she worked. She also ended up turning over her plantation to a Rwandan national, which was unheard of in the day. Her candid views of colonial times, the independence of both Congo and Rwanda, the life and times of Dian Fossey, as well as her first-hand acc ...more
Bas Bleu November 2015 Book a Month:

In the mid-1950s, Rosamond Halsey Carr married a hunter/explore and agreed to move to Africa with him. Years later, after their marriage broke up, Rosamond decided to stay on. She had fallen in love with the people and the area. So, she agreed to manage a flower plantation in Rwanda. After the Hutu-Tutsi genocide in 1994, she turned her plantation into a shelter for lost and orphaned children.

This book is a memoir of the
Philip Monroe
Aug 19, 2014 Philip Monroe rated it really liked it
While this book comes through the eyes of white privilege, Carr describes this lush area in such a beautiful manner and she doesn't shy away from the problems she does see. I found this book captivating because the region of the Congo has sadly devolved since the late 40s. Roads were better in Goma in the 60s than they were. in 2011. Plus, I share Ms. Carr's love for Rwanda.
Maureen Sautter
Jan 15, 2016 Maureen Sautter rated it liked it
I loved this memoir about a woman who goes to Rwanda in mid-century, falls in love with its beauty and its people, and decides to stay despite all the upheaval and the physical dangers. Truly a woman of spirit and spunk! Her relationship with Jane Goodall was fascinating. Not knowing anything about Rwanda, this gave me an appreciation of its land and people.
Dec 31, 2015 Rose rated it it was amazing
I am fascinated with the history of Rwanda & the horrific 1994 genocide. Like the holocaust, it gives such insight into the nature of man & the depravity that lurks within. It is also interesting to see how the world reacts to crisis, how often the help that is given ends up in the hands of the tormentors. Fabulous, fabulous book.
Apr 01, 2015 Betty rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, africa
Rosamond Carr's story truly deserved a memoir, tracing her years as an American in Rwanda from 1949 to 1999, from caring for a farm to caring for orphans. The writing style is almost conversational, more storytelling than written composition. I found it highly readable. Happily, it is still in print and available in a kindle edition.
Nov 29, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. This book ticked all the boxes for me and I'm so glad I learned of it via Roadtrip Rwanda by Will Ferguson. A very detailed and humanistic account of the author's life and experiences in Rwanda, starting in the mid fifties to the aftermath of the Genocide. I wanted this book to never end...
Nov 15, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I might be going to Rwanda in June so this is the first book I picked up about the subject. An inspiring story about a womans life in Rwanda. Amazing how Carr refused to leave at the most dangerous times and wasnt afraid to forge out a life on her own during a time when being an independant woman in another country couldn't have been easy. She always overcame each obstacle she faced and manages to return to Rwanda against all odds as it becomes her home and she could not be happy anywhere else. ...more
Mar 14, 2009 Kari rated it really liked it
This was an incredible book about an amazing woman! She moved to the Belgium Congo as a young bride and spent her entire life in Africa, mostly Rwanda. She experienced divorce, colonialism, Rwandan indepence, an interesting friendship with Dian Fossey, the Rwandan genocide, and so much more. At the time of writing (1999) she was in her 80's, running an orphanage for children who had lost their parents in the genocide. She said her only regret had been that she never had children, but at age 82 G ...more
Kathy B.
Dec 17, 2014 Kathy B. rated it really liked it
Historical and personal account told by the only woman who still owns a plantation in Africa. Evenly paced, sparsely yet beautifully written, captivating story. Recommend.
David Parker
Great personal testament about how someone that is repatriated to another country, claims it as their motherland and worth taking a stand against evil.
This book was slow to get into at first but it ended up being a suspenseful page turner. Only the end of the book deals with the 1994 genocide, which is fine because it's more about the whole fascinating life of this woman in Rwanda. The big criticism I have is that the majority of the book is not chronological - for example, you've just read of Dian's death in 1985 and in the next chapter she's talking about something that happened in the 1960s. I think it takes away from the flow of the book. ...more
Shari Strider
Aug 24, 2015 Shari Strider rated it it was amazing
It was a slow start, but I loved this book. I enjoy reading about real people and the impact they have on others lives. She was an amazing women, who was a pioneer in Africa. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy books that inspire.
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