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An Unsuitable Woman

"A darkly glamorous tale of hedonism, shifting social sands and coming-of-age crises - think The Great Gatsby in colonial Kenya."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

A darkly glamorous tale of hedonism, shifting social sands and coming-of-age crises - think The Great Gatsby in colonial Kenya.

Fourteen-year-old Theo’s first impressions of his new life in East Africa - a world away from England - encapsulates this novel’s intoxicating sense of place: “Across the bay was Zanzibar...a stretch of brilliant white sand dotted with palms and matched by the whitewashed palace and fort at its edge. To the left I could see an Indian banyan tree, alive with vervet monkeys, and behind that, the shaded labyrinthine streets of Stone Town.” And then: “Kenya was the Africa I’d dreamed of”. 

Soon after his family’s arrival, with his father appointed new Director of the railway, Theo fatefully meets twenty-something good-timers Freddie (Lord Hamilton) and Sylvie (introduced by Freddie as an “unsuitable woman”). Described by Sylvie as “absurdly handsome”, Theo is drawn into the decadent world of their notorious Happy Valley set. Against a backdrop of fluctuating politics, he finds himself caught in a web of compromising personal conundrums, while younger sister Maud comes to identify more with the colonised population than with her own colonial class. 

Steeped in exhilarating atmosphere, coming-of-age conflicts, and historical intrigue, and boasting brilliant characterisation, this is an exquisitely entertaining showstopper of a story, best read while reclining with a comely cocktail to hand.

 

Joanne Owen

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Reader Reviews

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Like my favourite book - The Great Gatsby - only with a more heat swept location with glamour and more than a touch of intrigue.

The author transports you to Kenya in the blink of an eye in this novel as Maud and Theo make a new life for themselves and the 1920's roar into life in front of your eyes. This book has it all, fascism, sexism, coming of age, and mystery - it is just like my favourite book - The Great Gatsby - only with a more heat swept location with glamour and more than a touch of intrigue. There are physical and emotional situations to overcome as in that time people were treated very differently and the author has ensured this is brought out in the book to make it more real for the era. I read this on a long journey and I just couldn't put this book down as I followed the lives of the characters.... Read Full Review

Jen Moville

Evocative coming of age story set in 1930s Kenya against a backdrop of political unrest - guaranteed to transport the reader!

Evocative coming of age story set in 1930s Kenya against a backdrop of political unrest - guaranteed to transport the reader!

Previously published as The Hunters, Kat Gordon’s scintillating historical fiction novel takes inspiration from two real-life characters and tells the story of an inexperienced fourteen-year-old boy, Theo Miller, who is drawn to the glittering allure of the privileged and vicarious British crowd known as the Happy Valley set. Set across the period 1925 to 1937, the story opens with the mastermind behind the newly built railway, William Miller, appointed as director and uprooting his twenty-five-years younger and unpredictable wife, Jessie, and children, Theo and Maud, from Scotland to Nairobi.... Read Full Review

Rachel Hall

Addictive, intoxicating read, couldn't put it down. Thanks for my free copy.

An intoxicating read, very addictive.
I was captivated from the very start, the writing is beautifully descriptive, the story intriguing and absorbing; I just couldn't put it down but at the same time I didn't want it to end.... Read Full Review

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