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The Girl and the Sunbird: A beautiful, epic story of love, loss and hope Paperback – 7 Jun 2016
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Rebecca writing is just quite literally like a paintbrush which brushes the scenes of an African wilderness as she writes. The sights, sounds and smells just build up in layers, the colours of the sky vivid and evocative and the sounds just jump from the page. Such a visual read and even more poignant when I thought of how this must have seemed to a woman who knew her destiny was here, with a cold-hearted man.
I ‘m a bit of a nervous wreck now to be honest. I invest so much into these characters but to be fair Rebecca makes it hard not to. I really feel as if I can picture and dream of Kenya much more clearly now and I feel that I have too been on such a journey with Iris. She is such an amazing character and she made me wonder what I would have done in her circumstances but that was impossible as how would you know? Iris must have been just one woman who was forced to marry to be ‘useful’ and not only that, being forced to live in a strange country. That really made me think.
Rebecca Stonehill this book just read like a song. A beautiful heartbreaking song. And Kamu! I was in bits by this point!! The rest of the book was just unexpected and a deep and meaningful reading experience. No spoilers here – you have to experience the song of the sunbird yourself.
Visit the locations on thebooktrail.com as they are exquisitely evoked in the book!
For all its beautiful, haunting prose, for me the love scenes do go on a bit, thereby losing their lustre. But the technical structure of the plot is faultless as one scene flows seamlessly into another and the alternate viewpoints of the lovers are portrayed.
It cannot last. The idyll is shattered, and I feel somewhat surprised that a Victorian lady should confide in an Indian tailor about her association with an African teacher; but then, life is full of surprises, and the poor girl is desperate. The fruits of that association are revealed in time, and the pace quickens.
The scene moves to the UK and the final pages spring another, satisfying surprise.
I prefer The Poet's Wife - marginally - and look forward to Rebecca Stonehill's next book.
Not only is Sunbird a fabulous story but you take a step back in time and into a time in history that you leave feeling significantly more knowledgeable about. A deeply moving and educational novel.
As with Stonehill’s first novel, The Poet’s Wife, this is one of those fantastic, substantial novels that draws you in and takes you on a journey through the lives of its characters and the political and cultural context in which they lived.
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