PLAYGROUND FOR AUTHORS NOTES - WITH PHOTO GALLERY
AT A GLANCE…
Fourth in the African series but takes place in America and highlights Tanzanian Kivuli Farley’s fourteenth year on the Nevada ranch where the Roses faced the tragedies of murdered horses and dogs and the kidnapping of a child, all under the watchful and loving eye of their long-time companion, Askay, Kivuli’s great-grandfather. All the stories merge from the 1950s to 2017 where some characters from the first novel, Once to Every Man, are still alive and bringing their wisdom and passion to the unraveling of secrets and life choices, and where Kivuli discovers the painful past of the Rose family, Askay’s part in it, and her own rash plot to bring healing to all.
The connections between Africans and Americans change her forever.
Teen-aged Kivuli is sent to America by Askari and Suzanna to meet the Nevada family who embraced her great-grandfather Askay to see what love has done. The Nevada family, the Roses, have had their own story in my 2nd and 3rd novels, Almost Paradise and Dancing in the Red Snow. They have had pain and tragedy, healing and forgiveness of their own.
Kivuli lands in America when she is fourteen on the first page of this novel. Her internal purpose is not clear. Her father has said she could be an ambassador to the people who loved Askay, but the girl knows that disturbing things have happened to the Roses. (I won’t tell you how she knows these things here.) But I will reveal that she has discovered that her great-grandfather made a terrible mistake when he lived with the Roses, a mistake that allowed a horrific crime to occur in their lives which they are still not quite over. Kivuli wonders if she could “fix” that mistake somehow without revealing what Askay did.
She asks questions; she confides in the local African priest; she searches the Internet for clues to the Roses’ past and that of a crazy older woman who caused most of their pain. But Kivuli learns that their pain is not caused by the mad woman alone. The Roses have issues with forgetting, forgiving, understanding the role of faith, denying, over-protecting, and berating themselves for their own mistakes.
What Love Has Done covers one year in Kivuli’s life in America – her friendships (gay and straight), her blunders, her horse experiences, her strange relationship with the “mad woman,” her special relationship with the Native American, Henry Dancing Horse, her discoveries about her great-grandfather, her musings about her own mother back in Africa, and her proper place in the Roses’ healing.
If you like metaphors, you’ll find one on the book cover. It shows a cosmic phenomenon that symbolizes the contrast between America and Africa and the blending of the distinct but not always harmonious traits of human hearts that can, with a little “time,” find a spectacular way to love.