A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn (Book Review)

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn (Book Review)A Spear of Summer Grass
Pages: 370
My Rating three-stars

Paris, 1923

The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even amongst Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather's savannah manor house until gossip subsides.

Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.

Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming-yet fleeting and often cheap.

Amidst the wonders-and dangers-of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for-and what she can no longer live without.

I loved this book from the opening lines. As soon as I read the first few lines I knew that it was going to be a book that grabbed my attention (and it did).

Don’t believe the stories you have heard about me. I have never killed anyone, and I have never stolen another woman’s husband. Oh, if I find one lying around unattended, I might climb on, but I never took one that didn’t want taking.”

o_O I couldn’t help but wonder…just what kind of woman is Delilah Drummond? Then I laughed at the author deciding to name her main character Delilah considering she has a reputation for…well…affairs.

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Overall, her story ended up being predictable and a bit cliche in parts but she was still a fun character with a complex past. The problem I had with this book lies with the supporting characters and some of the content which other readers may find offensive. There are extreme highs and lows within the story leaving me feeling, overall, like this was just an average read. A certain disappointment from the high I felt after those opening lines.

The highlight of the novel is Delilah herself. Her mother, referred to as “Mossy” was a scandalous woman who frequently married and divorced, leaving Delilah with no father figure. They also moved regularly living in various countries and continents, leaving Delilah with no stability. Delilah follows in her mother’s footsteps until she finds herself so deep in scandal that she is exiled to Africa to live on the plantation owned by one of her previous step-fathers. 

It is here, in this untamed wilderness, away from the parties and the high society of Paris, that Delilah finally finds herself.

While predictable in parts I liked Delilah so much that I’d still recommend the book. It’s just a light women’s fiction read that I think most people will enjoy.


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