An illuminating debut following three women in sub-Saharan Africa as they search for home and family
Leona, an isolated American anthropologist, gives birth to a baby girl in a remote Maasai village and must decide how she can be a mother despite her own grim childhood. Jane, a lonely expat wife, follows her husband to the tropics and learns just how fragile life is. Simi, a barren Maasai woman, must confront her infertility in a society in which females are valued by their reproductive roles. In this affecting debut novel, these three very different women grapple with motherhood, recalibrate their identities and confront unforeseen tragedies and triumphs.
In beautiful, evocative prose, Adrienne Benson brings to life the striking Kenyan terrain as these women’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways. As they face their own challenges and heartbreaks, they find strength traversing the arid landscapes of tenuous human connection. With gripping poignancy, The Brightest Sun explores the heartbreak of loss, the struggle to find a sense of belonging and the surprising ways we find our family and home.
|Publisher:||Park Row Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Adrienne Benson grew up traversing sub-Saharan Africa, finding homes in Zambia, Liberia, Kenya, and Cote d’Ivoire. She is now happily ensconced in Washington, D.C. with her three kids. Her writing has appeared in Buzzfeed, The Foreign Service Journal, Brain, Child, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, ADDitude Magazine, and several anthologies. The Brightest Sun is her first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Brightest Sun by Adrienne Benson was the brightest part of my weekend. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to read this vividly written novel. Three women living three uniquely different lives find their paths crossing in unexpected ways. Have you ever wondered how your family history, or where you were born affects the life you lead? This book follows three women, and two young girls who navigate the challenges and privileges that their individual lifestyles have provided them. Leona is an archaeologist who heads to Kenya to live with and observe the Maasai people as soon as she is able to escape her parent’s indulgent lifestyle. An unexpected pregnancy in an unfamiliar world turns Leona’s plans upside down. Jane traveled to Africa with the goal of saving elephants from poachers, and becomes entangled in the literally deadly lifestyle. Unsure of her ability to live with the dangers her job brings, she finds herself becoming the wife of a traveling diplomat and raising her daughter Grace. Simi is a barren Massai woman who wants nothing more than to be a mother. She fears if she does not provide her husband with children, he will no longer need her, and where will that leave her? Grace and Adia are young American girls raised in unconventional conditions. The story is how all these females, young and old impact each other’s lives, whether directly or indirectly as they learn, grow and build relationships. Upon reading the author’s note at the end when I finished the book, I was so taken with the premise of this story, where it began, and why she wrote it. Learning that she herself lived in Africa for a time, traveled around and created some of the characters from her own experiences made this already beautifully written story come even more to life. I am sure everyone wonders at some point what it feels like to step into someone else’s shoes for a time. What makes the stories of these women so fascinating is many of them came from a life not so different from mine, and they ventured so far from home, with minimal knowledge of what lay ahead. They stepped out on faith, and experienced things many of us may never encounter. Some of it was heartbreaking, some of it was uplifting, but all of it was life altering. What a beautifully written book. An absolute must read! Five beautifully bright stars! **Review by Amy, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night with Books**