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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It's a rite of passage novel set in the mid-1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will ...more
Kindle Edition, 167 pages
Published July 6th 2014 by New Generation Publishing (first published June 16th 2014)
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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  32 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Zoé-lee O'farrell

I do not know if there are any words in my dictionary that can describe how amazing and breathtaking this book truly is. I stepped out of my comfort zone reading this book and I have not looked back, words have failed me. I have been discussing this book with Kerry at Herding Cats and she is the same as me, we both loved and adored this book, but when it comes to writing the review we know that we could never do it any justice.

So in 1965 Jessamy, known as Jess wants to leave her Quaker school
This is the only one of the three books in this trilogy that I have currently read. It starts in 1964 when seventeen year old Jess endeavours to convince her Mum that it will be a great idea for her to have a gap year after taking her 'A' Levels. She's volunteered to work in Ghana, West Africa. Her Quaker Mum is reticent about agreeing but eventually does and so eighteen year old Jess starts her adventure in 1965.

This story is an insight into the turbulent era in Ghanaian history, bringing it to
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this first story I was introduced to Jess, an 18 year old taking a gap year. She travels to Ghana to try and help teach in the village schools there. Jess is a naive girl and her strict mother’s Quaker belief seems to have shielded her to a certain extent. I did wonder how on earth this character would cope out in the “real world” that was so different from her own.

While in Ghana she constantly writes to her boyfriend in the UK, Simon is from another respectable Quaker family who are very
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book that is different from the usual run of the mill. In Drumbeats we follow the journey of eighteen-year-old Jess, who against her parents' wishes, embarks on a gap year as a volunteer nurse in West Africa. Set in the sixties, we get to look at the political climate of Ghana at that time seen through the eyes of a young Western girl. Even Jess though could not have foreseen what a journey she will undertake. Facing civil war, a controversial dictatorship and the ...more
Gayle Pace
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Our main character, Jess is from a Quaker family, which is quite conservative. She wants to do more, to become more, so she decides to leave before the start of university. She goes to Ghana.During that year she learned a lot about herself and the person she is and wants to be. The reader couldn't help but love Jess. She is a kind and gentle person and is like a lot of people who want to change things about the world. The author wrote the book in a very realistic way. She shows the reader
Caroline Venables
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great story. Set in the 1960’s Jess is desperate to live her life the way she wants to, and not be dictated to by her very religious mother. Instead of going to university, she decides to take a gap year and go to Ghana to teach.

The author’s description of Ghana is breath taking. She uses all the senses to portray the country. You can almost see the flowers, animals and fruit that she describes.

Jess really settles in to life in Ghana, teaching, helping the local children and singing in
ChillwithabookAWARD With
Drumbeats has been honoured with a Chill with a Book Readers' Award.
Elizabeth Ray
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the characters and events in this novel. Jess is from a conservative Quaker family and desires to "break out" and do more with her life. She decides to go to Ghana for a year before beginning at a university. While she is there, Jess learns a lot about herself and becoming her own person.

I loved Jess because she was very kind and represents what a lot of people her age want to do- change the world. I felt that the book was very realistic in showing that even the best intentions and
J.B (Debbie)
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Drumbeats is a coming of age tale. A tale of a brave young woman called Jess who sets out to follow her dreams and break out of the confines of her life at home. I was so impressed by the massive leap of faith that this character takes in travelling halfway round the world to seek adventure and learning and immerse herself in an unfamiliar culture which she embraces and has a respectful admiration of. At times she finds it frightening and confusing. Jess has stepped out into such an adult world ...more
Janice Ross
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Drumbeats is about confronting challenges and looking beyond what we now. I enjoyed the cultural highlights, as well as the very deeper nature of this work. Julia Ibbotson clearly has an impressive amount of knowledge about this area, as it drives her writing. Drumbeats focuses on a young adult that seeks to venture out for a year. Her eyes are set on Ghana, and so begins her journey.

It’s a rewarding experience to be able to not only know about certain aspects of living but, most importantly, be
Hannah Symonds
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover just stood out for me as it is so vibrant and made me feel happy. I found myself warming to the characters straight away and I found myself really liking Jess, as she goes on her journey about becoming her own person. I think Julia has written about the political events superbly, I don't know if she has been over there before but everything about Ghana was described really well. The story ended on a cliffhanger which left me disappointed but I know that the sequel is out next year so ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like books that allow me to place myself in the shoes of another and I am able to experience new ideas, places, things. This book accomplishes that. I found it to be an enjoyable read and look forward to more.
Connie Tucker
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this coming of age story set in Africa. Well written, just pulls you in .
Kate Avery
Rating 3.5/5

This book was a bit of a rollercoaster for me, I certainly had my ups and downs with it. I had a feeling from reading the blurb that this was going to be something a bit different to what I have been reading lately and I always like to switch things up with my reading to keep things interesting, but I am now wondering if that’s why I found this one difficult to get into at first.

I found the writing style a bit difficult to get on with initially, there were times that I felt like very
Kerry Robinson
This book is so much more than a romance novel.

In this first installment of the trilogy, we are taken on a journey with Jess, a naive and unworldly, but determined 18 year old as she travels to Ghana for a gap year. Jess is such a lovable character and I couldn't help but be impressed by her determinationto succeed. Coming from a 'good Quaker family', Jess has had a certain way of life drilled into her since she was little. She is torn between wanting to not disappoint her parents and their way
Natalie Gardner
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book, and joining Jess on her trip to Africa. She is a likeable main character who wants to make a difference in the world, and break free from the strict conditions her family impose on her. Watching her transition to adulthood is fulfilling and inspiring. I found myself willing her on – keep trying to make a difference Jess, choose the right man Jess, are they really your friends Jess?

The setting is also a major part of the story and the author talks about it so
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in the Drumbeats trilogy is set in 1965 and tells the story of a young girl who is about to embark on an experience which will change her life forever.

I always enjoy a book with a highly likeable main character and Jess was just that. From the start I loved her determination and unselfishness, wanting to spend a gap year in West Africa, to teach and experience life far removed from what she is accustomed to. Jess is naive but also incredibly brave and eager to learn about new
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book, based in 60's and the first of the Drumbeats trilogy, the reader follows Jess as she sets off for Ghana for a gap year. Leaving the stifling environment of her strict Quaker family and her beloved boyfriend Simon behind, she sets off on the trip of a lifetime to spend her year teaching and acting as nurse in a Ghanaian community. Working with other volunteers she tries her best to make life better for those she has come to aid. Set amid a time of political unrest in Ghana, Jess at ...more
Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)
In the first book, Drumbeats, we meet Jess as she battles with her parents to go to Africa for a year before starting uni, with a view to helping the locals and making a difference. She experiences things that others her age back home wouldn’t understand and develops some beautiful relationships whilst she’s there. She’s goes through a lot; all the time trying to maintain her relationship at home with her boyfriend, Simon……
Julia Ibbotson
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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Acclaimed award-winning author Dr Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She studied English at Keele University, specialising in early medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at age 10, but became a school teacher, then an academic as a university lecturer and researcher. Julia spent a ...more
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