Traci's Reviews > Burning Embers

Burning Embers by Hannah Fielding
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's review
Jan 17, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

This is a very interesting book, a historical, "vintage" romance set in 70's Kenya. Having read quite a few novels lately that can be categorized in one way or another as "romance", Burning Embers stood out. I think what I liked about it was the same thing I liked about Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress ( the history and culture of a time and place I know very little about.

I liked hearing a bit about the changes in Kenya in the 1970s, the cultural differences between the former colonialists and the native people, who are taking back their country even as they often still serve, in one capacity or another. Even though the main couple is white and educated in Britain, they both spent formative years in Africa and provide an understanding, knowledgeable outsider's view of a changing continent. As Rafe says, Kenya is changing and is not for him anymore.

The relationship between Rafe and Coral is incredibly traditional and yet reflects the changing gender roles as well. Coral struggles with her feelings of independence and yet wants to submit to Rafe, as a wife and lover; Rafe's overwhelming masculinity both attracts and repels her. She can't quite embrace the sexual revolution of the time, and is caught in the throes of independence, much like Kenya.
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