** advanced copy received from publisher **
Author : Shelan Rodger
Title : Yellow Room
Pages : 256
Publisher : The Dome Press
Publication date : October 5, 2017
Haunted by a tragic childhood accident, Chala’s whole life has been moulded by guilt and secrets. After the death of the stepfather she adored, Chala is thrown into turmoil once again.
Volunteering in Kenya seems to offer an escape, and a way of re-evaluating her adult relationships, although violence and hardship simmer alongside its richness and beauty.
The secrets of the Yellow Room are still with her and she can’t run away forever.
The opening chapter of Yellow Room is one you won’t forget in a hurry. At the time, our main character Chala is only four years old but the events result in a family secret that will shape her life, her future and heavily influence her relationships.
When her stepfather dies, Chala feels completely adrift. She decides to go to Kenya to volunteer at an orphanage. The country is in turmoil, marred by violence and the orphans, most of which come from the streets, have a tough time leaving their old lives behind. The choices and mistakes they make will affect their lives. Ultimately, Chala will realise that no matter where she goes, the secrets will stay with her like scars and that maybe all the guilt she carries she with her could be misplaced.
Secrets are like scars that heal over a wound that never quite disappears.
I found it quite hard to warm to Chala and her husband Paul. Neither came across especially sympathetically. They are both utterly flawed, yet human and completely realistic. I sometimes struggle with a story if I don’t particularly like the characters but there’s something about the author’s writing that really drew me in, something haunting, something quite exquisite and I was eager to keep reading.
Having never been to Africa, it was easy to imagine what it might be like due to the wonderful descriptions and the incredible atmosphere Shelan Rodger was able to create. When election day causes violence to break out, the tension was utterly palpable and had me on the edge of my seat.
Yellow Room is a beautifully written and memorable story about family and secrets. It’s brilliantly perceptive and evocative and while so far removed from my usual genres, I’m pleased I was given the opportunity to read and enjoy this one.
Many thanks to Karen Bultiauw and The Dome Press for my advanced copy, which I chose to review honestly!
Yellow Room is available now!