Book Club: Child of Africa

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Author: T.M. Clark
ISBN: 9781489241184
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Child of Africa is another compelling read from Zimbabwean born T.M. Clark. It is a twisted tale of traditions and the sad state some species of animal find themselves in.

Clark writes beautiful characters, be they human or animal, and I love getting to know the animals in her stories.

Child of Africa is a story of national parks, animal conservation, tribal chieftanship and the corruption rife in the country.

Joss Brennan grew up in Zimbabwe but knew from an early age he wanted to be a British Marine, to head out and save the world far from home. He left behind a young elephant that he saved as a 10yr old boy, his best friend and her older sister, the local tribe and his parents. Years later he returns from Afghanistan a double amputee, too late to say goodbye to his parents or his best friend Courtney.

He is strong, he is determined and he isn’t quite sure what’s next. Joss is aiming to compete in a triathlon once he gets his fitness back and there are many improvements he wants to make to the lodge and surrounding villages, if the locals will learn to accept him.

Peta de Longe is a big game vet and the older sister of Courtney, she hasn’t forgiven Joss for not making it back to spend time with Courtney before she lost her battle with cancer but she doesn’t know the challenges he has faced; and either did Courtney. She lives a couple of hours away in a national park and spends her life trying to save the wildlife.

Bongani is a native man of many hats. He is the lodge manager, the chief’s heir and he is helping to nurse him in his final months. He has known the Brennan’s since Joss was a boy and is the last link Joss has to his parents. Bongani has a lot on his plate with running the lodge and looking after his father but he also has to look forward to the day that he takes over the chieftanship… and face his corrupt half-brother with an eye on the top job.

Clark has imbued her characters with a deep love of their homeland that stretches to the people and the animals. Her story depicts the plight of some majestic animals that are dying out at the hands of poachers who are doing a lot more damage than they need to.

Child of Africa is told on a dual timeline past and present with flashbacks scattered throughout the story. The flashbacks set the scene and let us get to know all of the characters and how they found themselves in their current situations.

All of the characters are colourful and all have their burdens to bear, they are well developed and well drawn. I grew to love the good guys and despise the bad guys. The baddest of the bad was a character that I wanted to see redeeming feautres, I wanted to see what made him the way he was but the more we learned the more it seemed that sometimes the bad is bone deep and he was actually just born that way.

My favourite character was Ndhlovy, the elephant Joss took in as a child. The elephant he was told it would be kinder to shoot and put out of her misery. Joss wouldn’t have a bar of it and took her home where they formed a bond that lasted a lifetime. I loved watching the interactions between the elephants and the humans. The insight we were given to the herd mind of the elephants and the intelligence in their majesty.

Once again Clark has painted a stark and vivid picture with her words of the people of Africa, and the plight of her animals. The corruption, the poaching and the old world magic still believed in tribal lands.

Child of Africa has two companion stories that I am seriously considering chasing up, if I ever find the time, in the picture book Slowly! Slowly! and the novella The Avoidable Orphan.

This is a story that is going to appeal to a wide audience, the setting and the characters are first rate but it is the suspense and the subtle slow burn romance that really make this a stand out for me. The always wondering what’s coming and what nefarious plots are being hatched.

Child of Africa is book #52 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

T.M. Clark can be found at TMClark.com.au, Facebook and Twitter.

Child of Africa is available now at Harlequin, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading Child of Africa so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

23 thoughts on “Book Club: Child of Africa

  1. Thankyou to Harlequin Books and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Child of Africa by T. M. Clark.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gave an amazing insight into life in Zimbabwe for the white population, the black population and the animals inside and outside the National Parks in a time of political unrest and corruption. T.M. Clarke was born in Zimbabwe and engages the reader in every aspect of the story. There is a fact vs fiction section at the end of the book, which makes you realise how lucky we are to live in Australia.

    The characters are lovely people.
    Joss Brennan was born in Zimbabwe and grew up on a safari lodge. He fulfilled his dream to become a British Marine. However after becoming a double amputee he returns to his home. Things have changed and he discovers he doesn’t need to save strangers in a far away land, His own country and friends need help.
    Peta de Longe is a veterinarian who works in the National Parks. Her job is complicated by poachers and a corrupt government.
    Bongari is the chiefs eldest son and one day rightly will become the chief. He has a younger brother who has been trouble all his life and he plans to return and take over.
    Ndhlovy is an elephant and we follow her story.
    There are many thrilling plots in this book.
    I will certainly be reading other books by T.M.Clark

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to read ‘A child of Africa’ A very compelling read that I took my time to read and absorb. This is because I wanted to acknowledge that TM Clark was encouraging us the readers to have and be aware of the different issues that are Africa. I particularly liked the flow of elephants throughout the book and the ending was a lovely touch.

    At the beginning I did not know if TM Clark was a female or male author and it was not until the ending when I read the biography, the other books she has written, fact verses fiction and the terminology of the African people that I began to realise the scope of TM Clarks writing ability. I will be looking up a few of her other books. No, I do not normally read those parts of the book but this child of Africa really got me thinking about how different lives are based on circumstances and to understand that, I needed to know more.

    I will also be on the lookout for any new released books in the future. I also believe that the best ones are based on truth and the experiences we have during life, so TM Clark has brought to life her experiences of living in Zimbabwe and I hope she writes more.

    It was a pleasure to read A child of Africa!

  3. Thank you Beuty and Lace for selecting me to read Child Of Africa
    From the prologue when young Joss found the baby ( sorry no spoilers ) to the last chapter this book had me hook line and sinker
    The author took me into the heart of Zimbabwe South Africa
    The glossary at the back of the book is great to translate words
    Reading this book I realised there was a lot of factual content, which again at the back of the book is a fact / fiction section
    The main character Joss was born in South Africa and he returns from the war in Afghanistan as an aumptee to his home land and his safari lodge,
    Peta is his life long friend ( she is a vet ) and he has a wonderful friend who will become the chief of the village Chief Bongani
    This book will have readers crying and smiling BUT more importantly thinking
    Joss truely is a child of Africa

  4. If growing up in Africa isn’t hard enough then this tale tells how it could be worse. Start your journey with Joss as a child, growing up, loving the animals and the life in Zimbabwe. He grows wanting to join the forces but did not expect that that would make such a change to his life, one that changes not only his physical abilities but his perspective!
    Peta loses her sister to cancer, Joss’s best friend, but where was he when her sister died? She is a vet at one of the wildlife reserves/hunting regions of the area.
    Their paths cross when he returns to Zimbabwe, to take off where his late parents left off, taking over from the “to be chief” Bongani in running their family hunting lodge. Life brings challenges, children that need protection, animals that need intervention and romance that is blooming.
    The hint of romance does not overshadow the underlying tale in the background of the heartache and hardships faced in Zimbabwe and other African nations for the people and their animals.

    Thanks so much for the opportunity, I thoroughly loved this tale and look forward to the next by TM Clark!

  5. as you can see by the comments above mine, this book is a very compelling story and the tales of people, both trying to live together in harmony with nature, plus protect and look after the animals living in south africa, so that down the line, childrens children can learn and grow up with them. The vet part of the story , plus all others involved meant that I hardly found time to do anything else but read this book. Africa is a place I would love to have visited, but now, with so much going on in the world, it would at present be a no no for me. Thank you beauty and lace for giving me the opportunity, like many others, to read this wonderful story, and when yo u grow up in a country and can write about it, it brings it so much clearer to the readers.

  6. Thank you to Beauty and Lace Club and Harlequin for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
    It was a fantastic read. Set in South Africa, I was hooked from the first page. As well as covering the story between the main characters, Joss Brennan who has returned from Afghanistan as a double amputee, and is trying to rebuild his life in his childhood home, and Peta de Longe is a vet dealing with big game animals and has known Joss since childhood. The story covers the building relationship between the two, but also tragedies in their past. At the same time it covers the dangers faced by the people and animals of South Africa and what is being done to improve matters.

    I became very involved with the characters, and thoroughly recommend the book. I hope to read some more books written by T.M. Clark

  7. Child Of Africa was such in in-depth and riveting read. I learned so much about Africa and the plight of the people and the animals.
    The main story is about Joss, who went to war to protect his fellow man, and came back a double amputee. There is Peta who is a vet and has such a passion for all animals, and then there is Bongani a native of Zimbabwe, whom will one day become the chief of his village.
    The story is told in both past and present tense, and all of the characters cross each others paths. I found that I learnt a lot of in depth knowledge about Africa, its people and the animals.
    Although sometimes confusing with the use of the African language, I later realised that there was a bit at the back of the book with all of the meanings.
    This is a book that you can really sink your teeth in to, with insights in to the corrupt government and other agencies, the life of the villagers and also the white people of Africa.
    I recommend for anyone to read this novel.
    Thanks to B&L, T.M Clark and Harlequin for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

    1. Thanks for that review and on your recommendation, I will certainly be looking out for it now. It was on my wishlist to read but needed to see reviews for it. Will have to send a letter to Santa then 🙂

  8. Once again thanks to Beauty & Lace & harlequin for the opportunity to review this book

    Congratulations T M Clark for another classic storyline from Africa you succeeded again in keeping me enthralled from beginning to end

    This book about the plight of humans & animals in a beautiful country fighting for survival against corrupt goverment &* others

    wonderful descriptive characters whether they are human or animal black or white so good you find yourself picturing them in your mind so clearly & unable to put the book down until the end.

    I so recommend this book & if not to late great christmas present for a book lover

  9. Thank you for choosing me to review Child of Africa, I love when an author can take you to a part of the world while sitting comfortably reading a thrilling book. Joining beauty and lace has expanded my genre in books and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Child of Africa and felt I was there experiencing with the characters I’m not one to re-read a book but I will be this one just to be taken back to Zimbabwe. T M Clark has amazing talent I love when an author draws you in the story like you’re there too.

  10. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for gifting me this book to read.

    Wow where to start.

    Child of Africa is not just a story about a double amputee but it is a story and a lesson about life in Africa.
    It’s about the land, the people, the animals and the life of those that live there.

    There are many things I did not know about Africa especially about the people and this book lets you look a little deeper into their way of life.
    The tribes and their traditions and cultures are brought to life as you read and learn about how different their way of life is to ours. Traditions that have been handed down for many years must continue and grow.

    The animals and the little stories about the animals are so warm and touching. You feel like you want to cuddle each and every one of them yet you know you couldn’t.

    The main character in the story is Joss who helped animals when they needed a little help.
    He joined the marines because he always wanted to help and make a difference in the world.

    I found where Joss is telling Peta that his dad had said to him about the elephants he rescued and that she couldn’t stay. That it was time for her to continue her journey and just because she chose to visit them didn’t me she belonged to them as a free animal she chose to be my friend.
    This is a beautiful piece and it could fit with any wild animal. I found it very touching.

    An amazing book that takes you on a journey through Africa and her inhabitants.
    The families, the government, the tribes and the people that have to live through it all.

  11. What a wonderful read! I was so involved in the story that I read it in less than two days. The characters are well fleshed out so that I felt I knew them. I expect many people will get different things from the story; a sense of the very difficult times Zimbabweans lived through during that period, the wonder of African wildlife and the problems it faces…still, the plight of the young children and the workings of the tribal structure and traditions/beliefs.
    the book transported me to the country and kept me spellbound. The chapters written from the elephant’s point of view were magical and added so very much to the atmosphere of the story.
    There is plenty of drama and even action, but mostly, the book tells of love in every sense of the word and it survives even through the worst tragedies.
    It’s beautifully written and fully engaging and leaves one feeling better for having read it.
    This is the first of Ms Clark’s books I have read, but I now feel compelled to read her other works.

  12. This is my first T.M Clark novel, it is a story of national parks, animal conservation, tribal chieftainship and the corruption rife in the country.
    Child of Africa is told on a dual timeline past and present with flashbacks scattered throughout the story. The flashbacks set the scene and let us get to know all of the characters and how they found themselves in their current situations.
    All of the characters are colourful and very well developed, so much that I loved the good guys and despised the baddies.
    With a dose of romance a lot of suspense Clark has woven a wonderful tale and its hard to think of it as fiction when animals are still being poached.
    A great read that makes you think past the text

  13. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Harlequin Books.

    I only just finished reading Child of Africa (this time of year gets in the way of my reading )
    I had trouble getting into the story at first, about half way in I started to get a feel for it and enjoy the colourful characters. I found myself willing the good guys to win and the bad guy (evil actually) to lose.
    I enjoyed the last few chapters and couldn’t put the book down in the end. I especially liked the fact vs fiction section in the back… I didn’t know any of the things I read there (clearly I’m in a Mum bubble atm).
    Thank you T.M Clark for opening my eyes. Xo

  14. Child Of Africa is a eye opener of the killings of people and animals in Africa.
    A ex- British marine name Joss has no legs that dose not stop him from protecting the people from being hurt or the animals that the poachers are after to make money from.
    I would like to recommended this book to read and also I a packet of tissue’s I found it to be a bit sad.

  15. Child Of Africa is an eye opener to the killings of people and animals in Africa.
    A ex-British marine man name Joss has a love for the people and the animals.
    He has no time for poachers wanting to make a lot of money out of the killing of animals in Africa.
    I would like to recommend this book to read also have a packet of tissue’s it is a bit sad. Child Of Africa T.M. Clark.

  16. Child of Africa is an eye opener about the killings of people and animals in Africa.
    A ex- British marine named Joss and his friends to take care of the people, animals away from the poachers.
    I would like to recommend this book to read and make sure you have a packet of tissue’s it is a bit sad. T.W Clark Thankyou.

  17. I was thrilled to receive Child of Africa to read and review for Beauty and Lace. A previous book by TM Clark – Tears of the Cheetah – has been on my ‘want to read’ list for awhile and is now right at the top as I thoroughly enjoyed Child of Africa.

    The characters were well developed and a very interesting cast. I enjoyed how the various storylines – from Joss’ childhood, his time overseas, the romance and the traditional African society – were interweaved and complementary. Having spent time in Africa, I was particularly captivated by the game reserve aspects and the tribal dynamics. The Zimbabwean politics under Mugabe also touched on is fascinating, sad and intriguing.

    A wonderful read set in an endlessly amazing continent which is dear to my heart. I highly recommend Child of Africa and can’t wait to read TM Clark’s other books now. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review, Beauty and Lace Book Club and Harlequin books!

  18. Thank you for the opportunity to read ‘A child of Africa’ this book gave a good insight into how difficult the African people faced life in this time. The way the animals were described allowed the reader to actually be able to see the animals in all their beauty. The portrayal of the characters from Joss and how he grew up and when he returned from active duty injured and the issues he now faced in a country that was so dear to him. To face the losses of friends and past loves is clearly written so the reader can feel the pain of what is lost and can never be regained.

    Tradition is seems never leaves a tribe and is only strengthened in many of the people of the tribe in times of turmoil and change. Tragedy often brings people together in many different ways. It was sad to read the poaching of animals and the horrors this brings and the changes that were trying to be implemented to protect a peaceful life for humans and animals alike.

    The characters were written in a way that well suited the story and the compelling issues faced in Africa, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in something a little different from just a love story.

  19. As a child I always dreamed of visiting Africa because I loved animals so much but having still not gone on a trip this was a great armchair travel read to get a real feel for Africa.
    T.M. Clark takes you into the heart of Zimbabwe and weaves a story filled with characters you really grow to love (and hate). The story follows Joss Brennan who grew up in Africa but left to follow his dreams of becoming a British Marine. Back from war he’s now a double amputee and is too late to say goodbye to his parents and his best friend. Their are many wonderful other characters like his best friends sister Peta who is a big game vet and Bongani who is a native man who manages the lodge and is set to be the next chief. I also loved Joss’s Elephant friend that he raised when he was a child.
    It’s a great read and give’s you an insight into the animal conservation world in Africa and the fight against poachers and corruption that we don’t really know so much about in the Western world.
    Thanks so much Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for another awesome read..

  20. The blurb for “Child of Africa” says it is “A thrilling novel of one man’s courageous flight to save the children of Africa”.
    Yees it is, but it is so much more. Set in Zimbabwe, this book centres around the growing relationship of Joss an ex-marine and Peta s big game animal vet
    Joss returns home to Zimbabwe both physically and emotionally scarred. A chance encounter with Peta changes life for them both.
    This is a story full of contrasts. It deals with both the best and worst of humanity, traditional values and practices of village life and the horrid practices involved in animal poaching
    This is a well written novel that is easy to read. It bounces back to Joss’s childhood where you learn where his live and respect of animals is born, to the future where he puts that love into practice
    I would highly recommend this book for the armchair traveler who is after something light that touches on very serious issues
    Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to review such an enjoyable book

  21. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read “child of Africa’ by TM Clark. The author was born in Zimbabwe and her love of the country and its’ animals comes through clearly. All that can be said, has been said by previous reviewers..
    I really enjoyed this book which has many parts. It talks of the corruption endemic in the country, Black & White relationships, the difficulties caused to farming, poaching, tribal customs and so much more.
    The characters were real to me, and their complex relationships were well rounded and made for interesting reading.
    I loved the relationship Josh had with the baby elephant, which had a parallel with the relationship he developed with the human baby.
    It is one of the few books that I will read again. I would recommend this book, and the author to all readers. It has wide appeal to lovers of romance, intrigue, mystery, conservation, African and history books

  22. Thank you for the opportunity to read Child Of Africa. It was an amazing book that taught me how lucky we are to live here in Australia.
    All of the relationships in the book were fascinating and left me wanting more.
    I also loved learning about the different animals and the relationships characters had with them.
    It was also a great chance to learn about the corruption that happens over there.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

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