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5.0 out of 5 stars
The ghosts come alive!, 16 Sep 2013
This is an excellent book, it brings back many memories of life in Kenya. It also helps to set the record straight concerning Happy Valley and the many, many people who went to Kenya for a new life. It was hard and required huge effort and sacrifice to carve out a farm from the forest / bush and turn it into a productive enterprise. I also liked the way that Juliet Barnes rounded the main characters of pre-War Happy Valley in a way that nicely contrasts with the one-dimensional Hollywood image.
A lot of books have been written around the Happy Valley set but this is the first that takes a National Trust approach to the houses. What a pity that these parts of Kenya's history are vanishing. History belongs to those of us who live now and, however brief it actually was, those who settled the country in the 20s and 30s formed the foundations for Kenya today. Juliet Barnes illuminates the story of these buildings and their occupants with key episodes from the last century. She also highlights the rapidity of change, particularly in an ecological sense. She hints at the disaster that is deforestation and its consequences in terms of soil erosion and flooding.
The Ghosts of Happy Valley is a thoroughly enjoyable and educative read!