Lamb, Christina "The Africa House: The True Story of an English Gentleman and His African Dream" - 1999
This was the first book I read by Christina Lamb. I have since read "The Sewing Circles of Herat" and have become a big fan of her.
This biography is about Sir Stewart Gore-Brown, someone I had never heard about in my life. And still, his life is interesting and the book was captivating. The protagonist was one of the last colonialists. He owned a big house in Africa, almost a castle, something he couldn't have afforded back in his home country, Britain.
Being one of the last to start such an enterprise, he certainly belonged to the more arrogant and naive types, someone who wanted to turn back time and be one of the landholders, the lords, the people who owned people.
Christina Lamb has a great feeling for other people and she manages to describe their lives in a way that you imagine you've been there. I will certainly read more books of this talented author.
From the back cover:
"In the last decades of the British Empire, Stewart Gore-Browne build himself a feudal paradise in Northern Rhodesia; a sprawling country estate modelled on the finest homes of England, complete with uniformed servants, daily muster parades and rose gardens. He wanted to share it with the love of his life, the beautiful unconventional Ethel Locke King, one of the first women to drive and fly. She, however, was nearly twenty years his senior, married and his aunt. Lorna, the only other woman he had ever cared for, had married another many years earlier. Then he met Lorna's orphaned daughter, so like her mother that he thought he had seen a ghost. It seemed he had found companionship and maybe love - but the Africa house was his dream and it would be a hard one to share.
From a world of British colonials in Africa, with their arrogance and vision, to the final sad denouement. Leaving the once majestic house abandoned and a forgotten ruin of a bygone age Christina Lamb evokes a story full of passion, adventure and final betrayal."