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The Call of Zulina (Grace in Africa) [Paperback]

Kay Marshall Strom
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

27 Aug 2009 Grace in Africa (Book 1)
Strom, evangelical Christian author of 34 books and an activist against modern slavery, takes an indirect approach to calling attention to that issue with her newest fiction title, the first of three planned in the Grace in Africa series, set in West Africa in 1787. Strom's protagonist, Grace Winslow, the daughter of an English sea captain and an African princess, aligns herself with her father's slaves. Young adult Grace is promised in marriage to a pompous, offensive white man and even Grace's mother (who endured the same fate, having been forced to marry for political reasons) colludes with Grace's father in this scheme. Grace, realizing she is just as much a slave as her full African counterparts, runs away and discovers a new life and a better reason for living. She also has her eyes opened to the atrocities that have surrounded her for years.

Frequently Bought Together

The Call of Zulina (Grace in Africa) + The Voyage of Promise (Grace in Africa) + The Triumph of Grace (Grace in Africa)
Price For All Three: 26.40

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; Original edition (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426700695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426700699
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,099,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a writer and speaker who loves learning about the world. And what better way to learn than to travel? My dear husband puts up with me... even accompanies me on occasion.

Of course, the more I learn, the more I want to write. And then I want to jump up on my soapbox and share all my insights and ideas.

For years I've been known as a writer of non-fiction. That's still true, but I am also having the time of my life writing fiction. Sometimes there is no better way to share a passion than through a rollicking good story! I just finished writing one historical trilogy, "Grace in Africa," (Book 1: The Call of Zulina, Book 2: The Voyage of Promise, Book 3: The Triumph of Grace). Now I'm working on the next series, "Blessings in India." What fun! It's like eating my chocolate dessert when I haven't finished my broccoli!

Come, explore the world with me. Together we'll strive to make it a better place.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enthralling Read 2 Mar 2012
By Joy B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A most interesting read. I always enjoy learning through my reading of different parts of the world, different times and cultures.
This book shows how slaves were imprisoned and shackled in the fortress of Zulina, being held until there were sufficient of them to be shipped out.
Grace, half white and half African, yet not feeling really comfortable with either part, has grown so much since she ran away rather than be married to the man her father chose, being forced to face up to reality. The people that her parents really were and what supported their lifestyle.

Shocking in parts, I had to keep reading and will carry straight on with the next in the series to find out more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made for the Big Screen 10 Mar 2010
By Jennifer Bogart - Published on
I've been a fan of Kay Marshall Strom's work since reading Once Blind, her novelization of John Newton's life from slave trader to abolitionist (think "Amazing Grace.") Regardless of whether you read Strom's works of fiction or non-fiction, her heart for freedom, justice, and the respect of persons from all nations shines through.
In The Call of Zulina, the first in a new series of historical fiction --Grace in Africa -- Strom transports us to Africa in the late 1700s.

Grace Winslow is the daughter of an English sea captain and African princess, caught between two cultures and living a sheltered life. Having come to age largely unaware of her family's involvement in the slave trade and its harsh realities, Grace encounters it first hand at the slave fortress Zulina, following her escape from the family compound and an odious betrothal.

Swept into the midst of a desperate slave rebellion, Grace finds herself forced to confront both the tragedies of the slave trade in Africa, the complicity of her mother and other Africans, and her own unknowing contribution to the plight of her new companions. Strom's writing is vivid and irresistible. The pacing is excellent, and, like Grace, I found myself inexorably pulled along by the action swirling around me as I read.

Some of the moments of high-drama seem a bit clichéd, but that sense of no-turning-back choices and intense declarations lend the book a big-screen movie production feel; I'd love to see this title appear on the big screen. Likewise, some of Strom's characters seem a bit too typecast. Grace's mother, for example, is pure evil, willing to sacrifice her child without a moment's thought for her own purposes. As a mother I found it unbelievable that there wasn't any conflict present in her choices, as there was in those of Joseph Winslow.

The Call of Zulina can certainly be classified as Christian fiction, but Strom integrates considerations of faith carefully, mainly questioning how those who claim to know God can live in ways that sanctify cruelty. The faith of the Winslow's house slave Mama Muco and its influence on Grace's perspective also play some role in the storyline, but there's no clear presentation of the gospel.

While there are some very slight hints at romance as Grace's admiration for the powerful leader Cabeto grows, the novel's forward momentum is carried by the search for freedom that unites Grace with the Africans imprisoned at Zulina. The blending of a diverse array of African cultures lends authenticity and additional depth to The Call of Zulina.

It's exciting to read a well-penned novel set outside of the typically European and American settings predominant in Christian historical fiction. Anyone with an interest in the history of slavery -- particularly at ground zero -- will find The Call of Zulina a passionately written title that keeps interest high from start to finish.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far exceded my expectations!! 18 Dec 2010
By Rachel - Published on
I found this book to be very hard to put down! The plot is so unique and different than anything else I've ever read. Usually books about African slaves are after they have been taken on the slave ships to other countries, this was a unique plot because it takes place in Africa. Although some parts were a little difficult to follow I throughly enjoyed it. This is not a predictable book and the "surprise" elements really did come as a surprise to me. I wasn't expecting this to be such a good book and I was impressed. I can't wait to start the sequal!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery Made Real 7 Dec 2009
By Susan K. Stewart - Published on
I usually take a new book with me when I travel by air. In most cases, I'm able to read going and coming. I usually reserve my flight book just for flying and airport-waiting time. This last flight was different.

I started reading The Call of Zulina after I settled in my seat and I kept reading after arriving at my destination. The story and characters were so engaging I couldn't wait for the return flight to finish.

Kay Marshall Strom's story is somewhat based on fact - a white slave-trader married to an African. That in of itself makes a compelling reason to read the book of eighteenth-century slave trade in West African. It is, however, their daughter Grace who is the focus of the story.

Grace is the couple's only child and is raised to be a proper English lady. Her life changes dramatically when her father promises her in marriage as part of a business arrangement.

When Grace runs away from the marriage, and from her home, she learns the truth behind her father's wealth and her mother's anger. Thrown suddenly into the world of kidnapped natives as an African, Grace is respected by some of the captives because of her attempts to help them. Others distrust her because she's their capturer's daughter.

The Call of Zulina is the first in the Grace in Africa trilogy. This series is more than a good story. Ms. Storm is attempting to use story telling to shine a light on the continued problem of slavery.

She notes on her website ([...]) that although its been more than 200 years since the first anti-slavery law was passed, it continues under nicer names of sex trafficking, human trafficking, bonded labor, or child labor. Ms. Strom says, " . . . today slavery is against the law in every country of the world. It is up to us to demand that those laws be enforced."

The book includes a lexicon of words used by native African people and slave traders. I didn't refer to the lexicon while reading because Ms. Strom"s writing makes each one clear within context.

Discussion question are also included, which are ideal for a book club, and for high school students. Students can learn about the humanity behind the facts of slave trade.

Don't wait for a flight across country to read The Call of Zulina. Do prepare to be so enthralled with Grace's tale that you don't want to leave.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't click for me 10 Aug 2010
By Michele - Published on
I wanted to like this book - #1 because it is Christian fiction (which I favor), and #2 because the setting (18th century Africa) is a unique one that I know very little about. However, at about 70 pages in I realized that the book just wasn't holding my interest or clicking for me.

One of the main problems with this book for me, was the relationship between Grace's parents; it was so full of hatred, disrespect and humiliation that it made no sense to me why these two people were even married or why they stayed together. Finally at about page 60 the author explained how they had ended up married, so it made a little more sense. But even then, the character of Grace's mother was just too extreme to be believable. She was so full of hatred and bitterness and anger and pride that she was inhuman. That she hated her white husband and the marriage she never wanted I could understand; but that she could be so hateful and cruel to her own daughter -- just because she was half-white -- and could be so heartless to her own black people was too much. The author mentions in her acknowledgments that she based Grace's parents on an actual couple; surely the real-life woman wasn't as evil as the fictional Lingongo? With her ever-present whip that she didn't hesitate to use on anyone -- whether it be her husband or a black slave child -- she came across like an over-the-top Disney villainess rather than a realistic and believable character.

I think primarily, the reason I couldn't stick with this book is because it felt like reading a series of disconnected scenes. The narrative was often somewhat confusing, in a dreamlike sort of way. And some of the characters' actions weren't convincing: for example, Grace's decision to run away seemed too casual, too off-hand. I understand how she felt trapped and why she wanted an escape; but to turn her back on the sheltered and protected world that was all she had known surely would have required some inner struggle and soul-searching. And then when she did run away her parents made no attempt to even find her - ? Maybe they did eventually, but by the time I quit reading at chapter 12 they still hadn't started looking for her.

I suspect that the author has a really good story idea here; I think it could just use a little more polish to make it a more cohesive, coherent and engaging narrative.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars grace in africa best book 20 Mar 2012
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read all 3 of the grace in africa books and I loved them, but the call of zulina was the best, after you read it you will want to know what happens next. That series is the best books I have read. I have recommended the books to all my friends and family.
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