(Buy it HERE.)⠀
💧Wow, where do I even begin? I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this before, even though all of the elements of it are familiar. There’s a misfit princess, warring nations, a beautiful foreign slave girl, and strange visitors from a faraway land. Characters struggle with unrequited love, confusing sexuality, and mismatched marriages. There are power struggles–both political and personal. There are side characters and historical references galore–I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth to remind myself who a minor character was, and took lots of pauses to look up cultural and historical things mentioned briefly in the text.
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📚 If The Hundred Wells of Salaga was about China or England or colonial America, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. But instead, it’s about a very real historical period and royal conflict in 1860’s West Africa (but it is emphatically not about the Transatlantic slave trade).
I love that this book was written. Too often, books about African people are published as a memorial of oppression or injustice rather than out of a sense of history, but this book is firmly the latter. It’s character-driven historical fiction set among the various African nations that eventually became modern-day Ghana. It’s interesting, entertaining and treats its subject matter with the same legitimacy than people use when writing about Anne Boleyn or Catherine The Great, with the same expectation that the reader should be passing familiar with the context and just enjoy the royal drama. There should be more books like this. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
📖 It doesn’t get the full 5 stars because while it’s good, it’s not a masterpiece. Notice I haven’t given you a lot of name and place details–it’s because despite the fact that I enjoyed this book, none of it really stayed with me. I also found most of the main characters extremely unlikable. They were interesting, but it was hard to figure out who to root for. Still, 4 stars and a pleasantly surprised nod to The Hundred Wells of Salaga.
(As always, thanks for reading and this is the usual legally required notice that if you click on any links in this post or on this blog and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission from Bookshop.org because I am an affliate. Peace! )⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀