Hands Full of Ashes


Shattered by her husband’s death, Olivia seeks to fulfill his dying wish, that his ashes be scattered around the world.  The quest leads her to volunteer in a remote orphanage in Uganda, where she lives in minimalist surroundings.  While there, she bonds not only with the children and staff, but also the head of the facility, Jan Henriksen.  As she starts to recover her bearings, she’s plunged in the area’s civil war when a militia group attacks, leaving her to fight for her life.  When she feels that her life has again turned to ashes, Olivia finds her own peace and forgiveness.

Hands full of Ashes” is a story of finding your way after tragedy. Olivia’s tale is uncommon, which will have readers rooting for her every step of the way. Full of tragedy and beauty, the present day African countryside and its violent history both become as much characters in this story as do Olivia and Jan. This is a distinctive account of love lost and gained and tends to bog down in places, which might cause readers some pause. In addition, the ending may feel a bit rushed which could be a little bothersome. However, while Olivia and Jan do not have a typical relationship, their outcome appears to be stronger because of the adversities they face.  Congratulations on traversing a difficult topic.

Roberta Gordon