Blood Sisters, Barbara & Stephanie Keating

Blood Sisters, Barbara & Stephanie Keating
Vintage Books, 595 pages
ISBN 9780099485148

Ever since the day that Hannah brought classmates Sarah and Camilla home for lunch at Langani Farm in the Kenya Highlands, the three girls have been inseparable. Their friendship was rather unexpected; Hannah was a bit awkward and had not made any friends at the boarding school during her first two years as a day pupil. She had, in fact, only invited the artistic Sarah and elegant Camilla to the farm at her mother’s urging. As it turned out, all three girls had been sitting on the social sidelines, and when they found each other, they became like sisters. Their friendship carried them through the school week, and most weekends, they came home with Hannah to enjoy the loving welcome and the pastoral beauty of the surroundings.

Once school was finished, the three girls began very different lives. Sarah returned to Ireland to study zoology at Dublin University, Camilla embarked on a successful modelling career in London, and Hannah followed her parents to Rhodesia, where they had been exiled without explanation. Hannah’s brother Piet was now running the farm, and he needed to be careful. Kenya was in a state of political upheaval, and many indigenous Kenyans were not happy about an Afrikaaner holding on to land they may view as rightly theirs.

As their twenty-first birthdays draw near, Hannah, Sarah and Camilla find that Kenya is calling them home, even if it is no longer the refuge they remember. They return to a newly independent Kenya, barely coping with a legacy of unresolved political tensions. They must get acquainted again with Kenya, and find their way despite the constant threat of violence.

Written by two sisters who grew up in Kenya, this richly atmospheric, highly emotional novel will appeal to readers who enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and Kristin Hannah’s The Winter Garden.

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6 Responses to Blood Sisters, Barbara & Stephanie Keating

  1. Alex says:

    I know just who to give this to. My friend Mike grew up on a farm in Kenya and I’m sure he would be fascinated by it. Thanks for introducing me.

    • Naomi says:

      You’re welcome! I select books for a library user who raves about these authors, and she lent me some of their books from her own personal collection. I enjoyed the writing very much and am quite happy to further the recommendation!

  2. Letizia says:

    It’s so interesting that this book was written by two sisters (I always wonder how co-authors of fiction do this!).

    • Naomi says:

      I understand the process better if it’s an epistolary novel and each writer takes the point of view of a different character, or if the collaboration happens when one writer is unable to finish the work. I think a novel like this one, though, would be quite difficult to co-write – especially when the writers live in different countries, as these sisters do.

  3. What an interesting description. We really enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible, although it was very hard sometimes. Thank you for sharing.

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