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Green City in the Sun

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Set in Kenya, in 1919, this book is of a British family, the Trevertons, who settle on an estate on the homeland of Kikuyu and the antagonism that develops between them and the tribe's own medicine woman, whose powers they disregard. "Domina" and "Vital Signs" are written by the same author. Set in Kenya, in 1919, this book is of a British family, the Trevertons, who settle on an estate on the homeland of Kikuyu and the antagonism that develops between them and the tribe's own medicine woman, whose powers they disregard. "Domina" and "Vital Signs" are written by the same author.


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Set in Kenya, in 1919, this book is of a British family, the Trevertons, who settle on an estate on the homeland of Kikuyu and the antagonism that develops between them and the tribe's own medicine woman, whose powers they disregard. "Domina" and "Vital Signs" are written by the same author. Set in Kenya, in 1919, this book is of a British family, the Trevertons, who settle on an estate on the homeland of Kikuyu and the antagonism that develops between them and the tribe's own medicine woman, whose powers they disregard. "Domina" and "Vital Signs" are written by the same author.

30 review for Green City in the Sun

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dorcas

    I'm putting this one aside for now (bookmarked at page 90) . The book started off really good and I thought I was going to love it, colonizing Kenya in 1917, pretty exciting, right? But once we arrive and get semi settled, the story becomes sidetracked into relationship issues...the frigid wife ...the spinster longing for a married man...I'm not in the mood for this. To be honest, I just don't care enough about the characters to be interested. I had this same issue with "The Passing Bells " by P I'm putting this one aside for now (bookmarked at page 90) . The book started off really good and I thought I was going to love it, colonizing Kenya in 1917, pretty exciting, right? But once we arrive and get semi settled, the story becomes sidetracked into relationship issues...the frigid wife ...the spinster longing for a married man...I'm not in the mood for this. To be honest, I just don't care enough about the characters to be interested. I had this same issue with "The Passing Bells " by Philip Rock.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    3.5 Overall I enjoyed this. I loved the setting and how vivid it felt. The conflicts that arose were heartfelt (and some heartbreaking!). However it felt overly romanticized in the early to mid book and I felt that was either a distraction from everything else happening or more energy should have been spent on the inter-racial relationship. And then, after I get invested and they have a kid and then wham-the book takes a serious tone to it and the romance is gone! Now I liked how well written thi 3.5 Overall I enjoyed this. I loved the setting and how vivid it felt. The conflicts that arose were heartfelt (and some heartbreaking!). However it felt overly romanticized in the early to mid book and I felt that was either a distraction from everything else happening or more energy should have been spent on the inter-racial relationship. And then, after I get invested and they have a kid and then wham-the book takes a serious tone to it and the romance is gone! Now I liked how well written this was. It really brought Kenya (a historical Kenya) to life! TO see the differences of the colonists versus the natives of the land and how the interactions might have happened. It is a beautifully written saga that can both delight and have you questioning who we are as people.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    I just re-read this over the winter. My first reading of this book was back in 1996 when I was sick with mono and did little else but sleep and read. It will always be one of the best books I have ever read in my life. Rich with history, love affairs, cultural differences and boundaries, and most especially the loyalty and love of breathtaking Africa. As with any good novel, there are many twists and turns that the reader does not see coming. Overall, an amazing book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I haven't read this in a long time but it was always one of my favorites. Intrepid woman doctor in the bush longing for married man? Check. Murder, scandal, vengeful medicine woman who curses an entire family? Check. Angry husbands, wistful wives, and scheming bitches? Check. So. Much. Trash. No pirates, however. Problem. I haven't read this in a long time but it was always one of my favorites. Intrepid woman doctor in the bush longing for married man? Check. Murder, scandal, vengeful medicine woman who curses an entire family? Check. Angry husbands, wistful wives, and scheming bitches? Check. So. Much. Trash. No pirates, however. Problem.

  5. 4 out of 5

    GoldenjoyBazyll

    For anyone who has ever either moved to another country or went for an extend stay and tried to immerse themselves in the culture - you will find this an interesting read. The Tiverton Family (British) and Wachera (African) are linked because of a curse. The Tiverton Family came to Kenya in 1917 to make a new life for themselve. Adventurers... thrill and fortune seekers came to the land at that time. They came- they took over- they failed to learn about the intricate culture in which they moved For anyone who has ever either moved to another country or went for an extend stay and tried to immerse themselves in the culture - you will find this an interesting read. The Tiverton Family (British) and Wachera (African) are linked because of a curse. The Tiverton Family came to Kenya in 1917 to make a new life for themselve. Adventurers... thrill and fortune seekers came to the land at that time. They came- they took over- they failed to learn about the intricate culture in which they moved into. Hence- a clash of 2 worlds. Somethings never seem to change, no???? Barbara Woods offers a beautifully written novel about the people/ the land/ the traditions/ the hardships and joys of two very different familes expereience. I loved the strong female characters.... the look at Kenya's history and it's fight for independence and the ultimate message offered. As usual... Barbara Woods does not dissapoint.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I totally love Barbara Wood and her stories. If you read it you just HAVE to mention she has really been in the area she is writing about because of her visual style of writing and the details she can give about the surroundings. I've become so captivated, so fascinated I would never have layed this book aside if I would have the time for it - and even now, when I've finished it, I can't put it away because I feel almost related to it. It's real life, the life we never want to be but which is alw I totally love Barbara Wood and her stories. If you read it you just HAVE to mention she has really been in the area she is writing about because of her visual style of writing and the details she can give about the surroundings. I've become so captivated, so fascinated I would never have layed this book aside if I would have the time for it - and even now, when I've finished it, I can't put it away because I feel almost related to it. It's real life, the life we never want to be but which is always catching up with us. The life we never want to end and on the other hand have to finish because we can't stand it any more. This one is definitely one of my favourite's (which one's not?)- thanks to Barbara Wood!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    This has been my mom’s 2nd favorite book (Proud Breed being #1) forever. Almost 20 years later I finally read it and I have such mixed feelings. I loved the story....a saga that spans over 7 decades. It’s beautifully written, rich in detail, sometimes funny, but mostly heartbreaking. However - its LONG. Almost too long. I don’t feel like there is any part of it that is extraneous, it’s just long. There is a lot of information, and while the story flows seamlessly from one decade to the next, the This has been my mom’s 2nd favorite book (Proud Breed being #1) forever. Almost 20 years later I finally read it and I have such mixed feelings. I loved the story....a saga that spans over 7 decades. It’s beautifully written, rich in detail, sometimes funny, but mostly heartbreaking. However - its LONG. Almost too long. I don’t feel like there is any part of it that is extraneous, it’s just long. There is a lot of information, and while the story flows seamlessly from one decade to the next, there were times I just wanted the book to be over so I could have answers to certain questions. There are little mysteries that take a long time to get answers to, and I found myself sometimes frustrated having to wait. I will say that I HATED the last chapter. A lot. Passionately. And I finished the book a little angry with the author. All in all definitely a five star read, but much to my mother’s despair it will not be joining my ranks of “favorite”. Just “really good”.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Becky Marietta

    So I'll start with the good: Barbara Wood, an American who spent 6 weeks in Kenya doing research for a book about British colonialists in Kenya, did a pretty good job with description, especially since she did not write this book in the time of the internet. As a person who grew up in Kenya, I was impressed with her details; though she got some things wrong, it was still amazing how much she got right. Now the bad: this book was a series of soap opera episodes. Seriously, the only trick Wood skip So I'll start with the good: Barbara Wood, an American who spent 6 weeks in Kenya doing research for a book about British colonialists in Kenya, did a pretty good job with description, especially since she did not write this book in the time of the internet. As a person who grew up in Kenya, I was impressed with her details; though she got some things wrong, it was still amazing how much she got right. Now the bad: this book was a series of soap opera episodes. Seriously, the only trick Wood skipped was the old "he died but came back as an identical twin!" chestnut. Ridiculous melodrama--seriously silly. The book would have been half as long if Wood wasn't so bad at repeating herself, describing certain characters exactly the same every time they made an appearance and opining about what makes something home. To cap it all off, she told instead of showed, so the book was often artificial and preachy. Agonizing. I only stayed with the book because it was about my heart country. As a story, I would give it one-and-a-half stars, tops.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cristine Mermaid

    I will try to not gush too much but I love books that are set in international settings during an intense historical period. This book not only has an incredibly dramatic story but it brings Kenya and this particularly difficult period of their history to life. The author paints vivid visual paintings and writes to appeal to all of the senses. I found it a very engaging, hard to put down book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. History of Kenya from 1919-1986(present). Apartheid seen from every side with an emphasis on the emotional struggles, abuse, and how power overwhelms a culture and then finally recovery for a people never before imagined as such a spectacular disappointment. Beautifully written with a thorough understanding of the paradise the land could offer. Colonization wasn't the plan in the beginning it instead was a supposed "protectorate". Something to conclude, people never learn to respect the current p History of Kenya from 1919-1986(present). Apartheid seen from every side with an emphasis on the emotional struggles, abuse, and how power overwhelms a culture and then finally recovery for a people never before imagined as such a spectacular disappointment. Beautifully written with a thorough understanding of the paradise the land could offer. Colonization wasn't the plan in the beginning it instead was a supposed "protectorate". Something to conclude, people never learn to respect the current populace in this space. India had to rise up against their oppressors, our country with our westward expansion across the American Indian. However, Africa used a variety of situations and eventually resorted to violence. Again, look at Korea and Japan'sasion. This backdrop of history follows precisely from beginning to end, Kenya's struggle. The novel portion was absolutely fascinating. You found yourself admiring both sides, black and white. Admirable and amoral people combined. In a way it felt like a battle between two proud families. The warrior Lion leading his tribe with the Medicine Woman so powerful against the Earl and Sir James creating their plantations to honor England as well as their pockets. Each person comes with an impact and their own story sometimes romantic, sometimes self assertion which leads to slavery, and then sometimes to heroic action beyond belief. As we all like to believe, love is ingredient that binds us. Love can mean sacrifice and selfless action. Memorable. Interesting to read today with our chaos and civil liberties at stake. Makes you wonder how one person can change our world for the better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Having been to Kenya recently, this was intriguing, but I still found myself inserting scenes from Out of Africa into this book, so I guess I would rather just watch the movie on this one. One comment in general, it was sad to see that the colonial empires just cut and run. Kenyan natives wanted, God forbid, to rule themselves and instead of sticking around to ensure a successful transition and future of Kenya, Great Britain just left, pissed off that the native people didn't want to be subjugat Having been to Kenya recently, this was intriguing, but I still found myself inserting scenes from Out of Africa into this book, so I guess I would rather just watch the movie on this one. One comment in general, it was sad to see that the colonial empires just cut and run. Kenyan natives wanted, God forbid, to rule themselves and instead of sticking around to ensure a successful transition and future of Kenya, Great Britain just left, pissed off that the native people didn't want to be subjugated.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ciarrah

    A beautiful sweeping family saga - I loved the rich detail of the scenery and characters, but unfortunately I found myself skimming large parts of the story. I felt a bit bogged down and wanted faster pacing. But I can’t fault the character development or the overall plot. And though I will agree with another reviewer that I wished for certain plot points to be ended differently, overall I thought the ending was powerful, meaningful, rich, and satisfying.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Mcclary

    Having lived in Kenya for 3 months this book came across as the most authentic story that captures the feel, the people, the customs and the country. If you are wanting to learn about Kenya or you going to visit I recommend reading this book. It harbors a page turning story line that pulls the reader in while telling of Kenya and it's people. Having lived in Kenya for 3 months this book came across as the most authentic story that captures the feel, the people, the customs and the country. If you are wanting to learn about Kenya or you going to visit I recommend reading this book. It harbors a page turning story line that pulls the reader in while telling of Kenya and it's people.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ed Kent

    I bought this over ten years ago to read and improve my Italian while enjoying a story about Kenya... It took that long for me to read, not because of bad understanding of Italian, but by sheer exhaustion of the inane details of every scenario encapsulated within this 'epic'. It has some good, engaging moments, but the annoying, sometimes incredulous parts outweigh the positives. I bought this over ten years ago to read and improve my Italian while enjoying a story about Kenya... It took that long for me to read, not because of bad understanding of Italian, but by sheer exhaustion of the inane details of every scenario encapsulated within this 'epic'. It has some good, engaging moments, but the annoying, sometimes incredulous parts outweigh the positives.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    I may have loved this book more because we were in Kenya last year but the story kept me from putting the book down. The stories of the Treverton women enthralled me. The description of Kenya was so accurate I could see it again. Despite its length it took less than a week for me to read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sammy's Endless TBR

    ✨5/5 I was impressed by the amount of historical research that I am sure went into this book. I also really enjoyed that it traced through several generations because it covered a large amount of history. The author also did not shy away from addressing very deep and heavy topics.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Shocked to discover that this book is published by Audible (owned by Amazon) and does not offer their “titles to public libraries.” Shame on them. So I bought the book which I found slow and repetitive and just too long and drama-filled.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Merrington

    Great read from the first page

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maria S.

    Just great :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Moe Smith

    So good. I would read this one again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Genia

    What a wonderful and complex story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Oonagh Clarke

    Quite a read !!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    As one who has worked with missions across continents this book nails it. The good, the bad and the really bad.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    I really enjoyed this book. A story of Kenya from colonial times through the late 20th century, it wove fiction with real history. A good, interesting historical novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    Very good.....along the lines of “Out of Africa “.. I’ll look into the author’s other books!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    A family saga of generations both white and African in Kenya.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Cossins

    lots of generations in 600 page book

  28. 5 out of 5

    Astral_puppy

    Incredibly exciting and dynamic, a story about the timeline of a family and a curse, a story of people discovering new horizons and the meaning of home.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Isa

    I liked the story but the ending was too long and the translation terrible.

  30. 5 out of 5

    L

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Unexpectedly, this book captivated me with its sweeping descriptions of the Kenya plains and jungles, the well-researched, deep history of the country, and the rounded and real characters. The way the author explained the reasons native Kenyans hold on to their beliefs and the way that the white, European settlers hold onto theirs. The concept of home is used in a unique way, and one in which I didn't expect. The saga begins with the first Trevertons clearing land for crops and homes and for some Unexpectedly, this book captivated me with its sweeping descriptions of the Kenya plains and jungles, the well-researched, deep history of the country, and the rounded and real characters. The way the author explained the reasons native Kenyans hold on to their beliefs and the way that the white, European settlers hold onto theirs. The concept of home is used in a unique way, and one in which I didn't expect. The saga begins with the first Trevertons clearing land for crops and homes and for some reason a polo field. A baby, Mona, is born along the way and her story is just tragic…her mother, Rose, seemingly incapable of love, doesn't want anything to do with her (foreshadowing to Mona's relationship with her own daughter). Her father wanted a boy. The details of each of their lives holds both the best and the worst of life. The two constants throughout the book were Grace Treverton, the dedicated (almost unrealistically so) doctor and mission founder, who brings medicine and aid to the Kenyans; and the Kikuyu medicine women, commonly known as "witch doctors." Both women strongly believed that their brand of healing was the one that worked. In many ways, they were both correct. The juxtaposition of "old" Kenya vs. "new" Kenya fascinated me. Wood effectively explained both sides of the colonization debate and was, I believe, fair in her treatment of their positions. This story is so large and encompasses such a long amount of time, complete with many a tragedy (supposedly due to the curse placed upon the Trevertons), that I feel like these people were my friends. The feeling is similar to when I read Rosamunde Pilcher books. I especially liked how Grace Treverton tried to get the native Kenyans to accept western medicine: she put drops of colors into clear, liquid serums so that they appeared magic. In addition, she did several other things to try to understand things as they understood them. Finally, if you've ever had difficulty understanding interracial relationships - how they develop, defying obstacles of social acceptance, etc., Wood explains this well, too. Where I'm from it's generally not an accepted practice and my instincts from childhood had me bristling up at certain parts. But after reading the explanation, after following the characters, after seeing the world how they saw it…it seemed strange not to have things any other way. This book was undoubtedly one of the best-researched ones I've come across - not just historically but also culturally. Just amazing. I can't claim to be happy with part of how the author chose to end the story but the ultimate ending, I thought, was nothing short of beautiful.

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