Oct 16, 2013

Burning Embers *Review*

Coral Sinclair is a beautiful but naive twenty-five-year-old photographer who has just lost her father. She's leaving the life she's known and traveling to Kenya to take ownership of her inheritance--the plantation that was her childhood home--Mpingo. On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral's childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father's death.

Circumstance confirms Coral's worst suspicions, but when Rafe's life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fiancé, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa. Is Rafe just toying with a young woman's affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral's inheritance? Or does Rafe's troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine?

Set in 1970, this contemporary historical romance sends the seemingly doomed lovers down a destructive path wrought with greed, betrayal, revenge, passion, and love.

I received a copy of this story for an honest review for Amber's Reading Room.

When her father dies leaving her Mpingo, a lush estate in Kenya, twenty-five year old Coral Sinclair sets sail from England hoping to use the opportunity to recover from a humiliating heartbreak and re-establish herself in a country she has not stepped foot in for almost two decades.

On her journey abroad, Coral encounters the enigmatic Rafe de Monfort, a man who gives her comfort in a moment of weakness. Little does Coral know that Rafe will keep popping up in her new life, bringing both happiness and frustration. When painful ties between Rafe and Coral’s deceased father emerge, Coral must decide if the fire she feels when she’s around Rafe should burn with love or with hate.

Fielding creates striking images of Africa that helped me to visualize her settings clearly.
“Variant tones of pink were gently spreading into the sky, struggling to seep through the symphony of blues. A few moments later the sun burst forth, dazzling in this multicolored canopy, and the dark outline of the landscape gradually loomed on the horizon, transforming first into the dark green, gray, and russet skirt of the jungle before revealing the bush, rising in layers toward the backcountry.” 

Visuals aside, I confess I struggled with Burning Embers. I found myself stepping away from the story multiple times and each time I jumped back in it was a little harder to reinvest. I could not connect with Coral as a heroine. Burning Embers is set in 1970 and even for that time period, Coral seems much younger and immature than 25.

Rafe also rubbed me the wrong way. Coral’s father was a notorious ladies man and his philandering contributed to Coral’s mother leaving him and taking Coral to another country. By falling for Rafe, Coral is falling for someone just like her father. The fact that Rafe not only kept a dancer as his mistress, but also had an intimate relationship with Coral’s stepmother, just left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m typically a sucker for a happy ending but when Coral and Rafe found theirs, it wasn’t enough to change my opinion on the overall story.

Burning Embers is not poorly written, it just was not my cup of tea. If you’re a fan of historical romances or period dramas, it could be just what you’re looking for.

The best comparison I can give is Academy Award-nominated movies. When Academy Award nominations come out, my husband and I use those nominations to create our “must-see” viewing list. Every year as we burn through that list, we come across one or two movies that after we finish watching we just look at each other and give a little head shake in confusion. We know the movies are artistic, they have merit, and somewhere somebody identifies with it and loves it. We’re just not those people. I am just not that person for Burning Embers.

Happy reading.

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