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May 24, 2022

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Oh, I can't speak for the dead.  And I won't speak for the missing.  I can only tell you what I think happened.  Others - the dead and the missing - would probably have their own versions.  Blame, I can tell you firsthand, is every bit as subjective as truth." (loc69-70)

 Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical thriller The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian
May 2022; Doubleday; 978-0385544825
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); historical fiction

What could be more exciting than a safari in Africa with your new husband, your brother and his pregnant wife, and several other close friends?  It's 1964 and Katie is a popular Hollywood actress.  She's just married, David, a gallery owner that she's known since childhood, and she decides that she and David will take their closest friends on a safari.  They all picture the safari in Tanzania to be a chance to see animals and scenery that they've never seen.  It will be restful and fun for Katie to spend her honeymoon in the Serengeti with some of the people who mean the most to her.  Believe me - this safari is anything but fun and restful.  Instead, it's a  kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding them into Land Rovers, guns to their heads.  Will any of them live or will they all die?  Everyone has to depend on themselves and do what they can against their captors as well as the threats from animals and the unrelenting sun and heat of the desert.  

This book is told from several perspectives. There are seven people on this safari who are telling the story along with the leader of the safari and one of the helpers.  It could have been very confusing to have so many points of view but each character was so unique that they had a distinct voice.  Through the characters, we learn their histories and their hopes for the future.  Each chapter starts with a small quote from fan magazines that also tie into each character and their past.

This book is so beautifully written and the descriptions of the land and the animals on the safari made me feel like I took a mini-vacation to Africa.  The characters are so well written that they felt like friends and I got emotional as several of them died.  I know it's early in 2022, but I know beyond a doubt that The Lioness will be part of my Best Books of 2022 list.  I predict that this book will be on the bestseller list when it is published.

Chris Bohjalian writes female characters better than any male author writing today.  His female characters are spot-on.  The other great thing about him is that he doesn't write by a formula as some authors do - every book is totally different from the books before.  The Lioness is his 24th book and all have been unique.  All of his books have a permanent place in my bookcase because I don't want to part with them.

Buy The Lioness at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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