I think what struck me the most about this story, was the way that something so...whimsical, can be written so solidly. Our hero, the dashing James, is such a character, I'm almost affraid to believe in him. His struggles thru Africa, in a time when it was thought to be "the White Man's Burden" to civilize these barbarous wilds. He "goes native" and really learns how to appreciate life much like we do today, (but never would have in Victorian England). This sets the stage nicely for him to fall in love with our heroine. Coco has had to do whatever she can to raise her son, alone in a world none to friendly to women. She makes no appologies for having to sleep her way through the world and James must come to grips with this. The story was quite romantic and I loved following our characters through their path to love. Unlike in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Ms. Ivory has our African explorer make it back, though profoundly changed. I have to say, I loved this book.