In Spite of Lions


After the death of her beloved father and protector, Anna flees the machinations of her spiteful, abusive mother and boards the first ship leaving port that will give her passage.  Not knowing where she will land but yearning for a life of her own, Anna wholeheartedly embraces the adventure before her.  Upon landing in Africa with only Mary Livingston and her two young children as friends from the ship, Anna follows Mary into the wilderness and among its indigenous tribes to reunite with Mary’s husband, Dr. Livingston.

Anna’s original naïveté is soon banished as the hard life in the vast African regions descends.  Still Anna is determined to rise to every challenge and become the person she know she can be - until famine, wars and tragedy threaten to overcome even her indomitable spirit.  

This story is a beautifully written and enlightening account of life in 19th century Africa. Anna’s character is both sympathetic and extremely relatable as she struggles to understand and survive in a brutal culture not her own.  The story is somewhat slow moving at times while it describes many of the practices and everyday challenges. And, while it takes until the climatic ending to rise to a can’t-put-down level, The easy, smooth flow is like comfort reading to the soul.  The ending is a cliffhanger that requires the reader to continue for any overall resolution.  Still, if looking for a rich and rewarding journey of discovery, this story is top-notch!

Ruth Lynn Ritter