Where Honesty Never Ends.
Burning Embers by Hannah Fielding
Disclaimer: Slight Spoilers
Blurb: Burning Embers is a contemporary historical romance novel set in Kenya in 1970. It depicts the developing attraction and love between a young and naive woman, Coral, who has come home to Africa, the land of her birth, and Rafe, a handsome, virile, commanding plantation owner who carries a dark secret heavy in his heart.
It is an evocative and passionate story of coming of age, of letting go of the past, of having faith in a person and of overcoming obstacles to love, set against the vivid and colourful backdrop of rural Africa and its culture.
First and foremost, I really like the book trailer. Very eye catching images. This is not the only thing I liked about Burning Embers.
1. I could tell with this work that proofreading was very important. I found no flaws in this work in any reference to grammar, punctuation, or spelling. I did recognize that spellings of words (like color vs. colour) vary with certain countries.
2. Descriptive African Backdrop: I liked the detail the author went into pertaining to describing Africa. I felt like I was there, hearing the dialects, seeing the animals, and feeling the heat of the sun and the fierceness of the thunderstorms. In addition, I like that some of the changes in Kenya during the 1970’s period were highlighted, so that more was going on than the central theme of the love story.
3. The dynamics of certain characters really held my interest:
I respected Aluna’s desire to protect Coral, although it came from a tainted place.
Although Morgana was jealous of Coral, I knew that she really cared about Rafe’s happiness. I was sympathetic to her plight as well, for I know of females who are faithful, dependable, and full of love, yet still end up not being the chosen one.
I can’t say I feel the same type of sympathy for Cybil. Even before knowing the history of her and Rafe, I picked up a cold, calculating vibe that pestered me throughout the read. It made it very easy for me to dislike her and not have it waver at any point of the story. I knew her intentions definitely weren’t from a good place.
It was also interesting how Dale was being painted. Was it really a coincidence that the brash, arrogant (in many parts, I labeled him, “Dumb ass” for some of his behavior) just happened to be an American?
Side Note: It also brings to light if other foreigners perceive Americans in that way: do Americans fit the stereotype of “brash, cocky, and foolish” more often than not?
1. Danger of getting lost in the details: In certain spots, there was so much detail placed on the surroundings, you wondered if any action relevant to plot was going to take place.
2. Rafe’s Character Development: I would have loved to have gotten more glimpses of Rafe’s inner thoughts. He was portrayed as a cold, womanizing opportunist through most of the work. I understand that it contributed to the story line, but in those moments where he displayed consideration and tenderness, I was waiting for a bit more insight. Perhaps it was intentional, but I didn’t really warm up to the love affair until the very end when he decided to do his big confessional. I felt even that could have been broken up into small portions, especially during the times when Coral saw the tender side of Rafe.
3. Abruptness of the emotional magnitudes in love story component: The emotional roller coasters, at times, seemed slightly obsessive. A couple of points, feelings went from total dislike to “hey, he’s not so bad” in the span of under a couple of minutes. It didn’t seem to have a natural ebb and flow.
4. Coral’s character
Coral’s character irritated me at times, almost to the point where I thought it would have served her right if things didn’t turn out as hinted.
If you love someone and you hear something nasty about that person, don’t you owe it to the person to find out whether it’s true or not? It was strange to me how she was so willing to defend Rafe at first (to Aluna and Morgana), yet it all turned around right at the moment where he decided to put everything on the line.
I also found it strange that she didn’t even ask what happened to the letter he had sent from Paris. The whole interaction seemed a bit off; I just felt like she should have maintained the same resistance to the rumors that she had at the start of the book.
Is her constitution to weather Rafe’s rumors really strong enough? Although she made a stellar comeback towards the end, I must admit, I’m still not fully convinced.
Unleashed Verdict: I award Burning Embers 7 out of 10 stars.
It serves as a good read for lovers of detail, continuous emotional roller coasters, and advocates of a Harlequin-esque happily ever after.
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