Ant Press author Cinda Adams Brooks recently submitted Heartprints of Africa for the Sarton Women’s Literary Awards sponsored by the Story Circle Network, an international association of women writers. Although her book wasn’t selected for the overall award, we are delighted to share feedback from the jurists:
Character: Characters are richly developed, dialog is natural and believable, and moves the story along at a brisk pace. Such excellent writing!
Story: A fascinating, extraordinary story of growing up in Africa in a strongly connected family of seven. The writing is clear, richly engaging, and is one of those cherished books that one loves to discover: a book one does not want to put it down.
Impact: This story is told in two parallel stories: one is of the author’s childhood in Africa and her abundantly layered bond to her twin sister; the parallel story is the author’s return to Africa in her forties to visit her twin, Linda, who stayed in Uganda, married, had children, chose to become a nurse, and remained in the country she and her twin, Cinda, (the author) both passionately love. The childhood story is filled with experience in a peaceful country; the adult story recounts a visit that the author knows is risky in now wartime yet she decides to take the journey she knows may be her final visit to this country she so loves. This story’s emotional impact and historical significance is abundant in the recounting of life experiences during two vastly times in Africa’s evolution.
Voice: The narrative voice is distinct, delightful, honest, and engaging. This is a very well-written book!
Place: This book is about Africa, which is the opening thread that continues luxuriantly straight through until the last page. I have learned so much about Africa in this memoir.
Style: Language is excellent, rich, and compelling throughout.
Structure: I found no errors whatsoever. Language structure is very good and consistent throughout the book.
Presentation: Excellent title for the content; a lovely cover with a brilliant sunset in the background of an Africa scene and photo of the twins; illustrations, although not in the book, are online at www.HeartprintsOfAfrica,com. All else is fine.
Violence: Nothing is offensive or distracting or detracts from this story.
Exceptional Info: Another aspect of this memoir that stands out for me is the obvious time and care, as well as research through letters, that the author used/took as she skillfully reconstructed the early Africa years and also recounted the 2004 war year when she and her sister and family literally ran for their lives – 6 miles to an airport where a plane was enroute to take them away – to avoid the militia at their door. This is an exceptional and lovely book!