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The Dhow HousePaperback

From the Publisher.A lushly imagined novel that asks, “When do we ever really know ourselves?”

When Rebecca Laurelson is forced to leave her post as a trauma surgeon in an east African field hospital, she arrives at her aunt’s house on the Indian Ocean and is taken into the heart of a family she has never met before. It’s a world of all-night beach parties and constant cocktail receptions, and within its languorous embrace her attraction for her much younger cousin grows.

But the gilded lives of her aunt Julia’s family and their fellow white Africans on the coast are under threat — Islamist terror attacks are on the rise and Rebecca knows more about this violence than she is prepared to reveal. Will she be able to save her newfound family from the violence that encroaches on their seductive lives? Or, amidst growing unrest, will the true reason for her hasty exit from her posting be unmasked? Rebecca finds herself torn between the family she hardly knows and a past she dares not divulge.


Worth Getting in Bed For? No.

This was a very atmospheric and descriptive read when it came to the setting and the natural habitat of wildlife. One of the main characters, or the main character, Rebecca, is soon to sit for her bird watching guide exam so there is an over abundance of descriptions about all types of birds. Unfortunately, the story fails to be as informative concerning the plot of a doctor as spy in an African territory on the cusp of an election who visits her aunt and family but falls for her much younger cousin. I found myself backtracking at points thinking I had missed something but these were holes that may or may not be filled later on. Using a narrative that jumps around in time is tricky and frustrating for the reader if not done right. Additionally, I couldn’t figure out a clever connection for the various birds and where they appeared in the narrative. Perhaps a spy story is not meant to be all revealing but the lack of balance left me too off kilter to completely enjoy the read.

Provided by the Publisher and NetGalley



About the Author

Jean McNeil has written ten books, including five novels. She has twice been the winner of the PRISM International competition, and her work has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Journey Prize, the National Magazine awards, and the Pushcart Prize. She is co-director of the Masters in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia. Originally from Nova Scotia, she has lived and travelled extensively in southern and east Africa and lives in London, England.