Review: A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

Description (from cover):

‘Paris, 1923.
The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savanna manor house until gossip subsides.
Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.
Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming–yet fleeting and often cheap.
Amidst the wonders–and dangers–of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for–and what she can no longer live without.’

My thoughts:

Deanna Raybourn does a fantastic job of describing Africa in all of its glory in this book. She paints a vivid picture of serenity, yet brutality, at the same time, that sucks the reader right into this story. The book is overly predictable, but the imagery is stunning. I haven’t read a lot of books about Africa, but this book makes me curious about a land that I know little about. It sounds absolutely beautiful and mysterious at the same time. I enjoyed Delilah’s character even if she was a little too blunt and sex-driven for me. This book is heavy in the romance department and it was a little annoying on the front.
If you take the romance out of this and just focus on the landscape and learning about the people of Africa and how they live, it actually is a beautiful story. I could have done without all the sex and innuendos. I’m glad that I read this, but it was nothing overly special. I will give props to the author for doing her research and exploring an unknown world. She creates a vivid picture that is enjoyable to read, but the plot was overly predictable, the characters a little too crass and the romance was over the top. 
If you like your historical fiction to be heavy with romance, then this book probably will suit you more than it did me. I loved the setting and the descriptions, but the never-ending romantic saga just over-weighed the good for me. It was a little too much. This book did pique my interest in learning more about Africa and the history surrounding this continent. 

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  A Spear of Summer Grass
Author:  Deanna Raybourn
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date:  April 30, 2013
Pages:  384
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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