I'm not sure how else to sum up my feelings and thoughts after reading IN THE SHADOW OF 10,000 HILLS BY by Jennifer Haupt. It is Haupt's debut novel, and it will be published on April 1, 2018 by Central Avenue Publishing.
IN THE SHADOW OF 10,000 HILLS is set in Rwanda in the early 2000's, and it tells the interweaving stories of three women who are searching for family and peace in the nation that was recently torn apart by genocide.
Lillian Carlson moved to Rwanda following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. She witnessed the genocide firsthand as she tried to save children (and adults) by providing them with a home at the orphanage that she runs in the Rift Valley.
Rachel Shepherd travels to Rwanda looking for the father who abandoned her as a child. Her search leads her to Lillian's orphanage where her father sometimes lived during the years since she had last seen him. While Rachel doesn't find her father there, she does find some of the answers that she's looking for. She also finds a new family.
Nadine is a young Tutsi woman who managed to survive the genocide when so many others did not. Her parents and other family members were all murdered, leaving her as the sole survivor. Henry Shepherd, Rachel's father, found Nadine and brought her to Lillian's orphanage to heal. Nadine is trying to move on, embracing her second chance at life, but her horrifying past keeps dragging her back into nightmares she would prefer to forget.
The plot of IN THE SHADOW OF 10,000 HILLS is well-developed, and the prose is very well written. This is a page-turning, heartfelt novel that provides insight into the Rwandan genocide of the 1990's, as well as the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. It will keep the reader engaged until the last page. All of the characters - main and secondary - are intriguing. The three main characters (Lillian, Rachel, and Nadine) stories are masterfully woven together into one heartbreaking and redeeming novel.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.