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The Brightest Sun Hardcover – March 20, 2018
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"This novel transported me from my safe little house in Iowa to a place where lions and hyenas prowl, where blood soaks into the parched earth and where a seedling can consume a living tree and become its own hollow tree with space enough for a grown woman to crawl into. The book throbs with descriptions of the natural world that are so beautifully wrought that their thematic significance seems essential and, at some extra-sensory level, magical. And yet what's most exciting about this story is how, in the midst of so much beauty and wildness and violence-at the dark and quiet center of it, you might say-Benson illuminates human emotion and psychology with such accuracy that you are brought home again, almost dizzily, to your own recognizable heart. That is beautiful storytelling, and this is a beautiful novel." -Tim Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Descent
"This expansive debut from Benson follows the lives of five women over two generations that interconnect in extraordinary circumstances... Benson's depiction of motherhood across circumstances will please readers interested in stories about forging homes in other cultures." -Publishers Weekly
"This engrossing narrative offers the experience of engaging and empathizing with cultural differences deeper than unfamiliar customs. It can transport you to Kenya and present the doors of kinship." -Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Life
"The African backdrop gives an interesting spin to Benson's exploration of themes related to motherhood, outsiderness, and emotional connection."-Booklist
"Adrienne Benson's characters are complicated people, damaged by circumstances past and present; her exploration of what it takes for their wounds to heal is aglow with empathy and insight." -Suzi Wyss, author of The Civilized World
"In her debut novel, Adrienne Benson masterfully braids the lives, desires, and fears of three memorable women. Their loneliness and longing, their bravery and resilience are illuminated-with empathy and honesty-against the vivid landscapes of Kenya and Liberia. This clear-eyed novel is both heartbreaking and hopeful." -Joanna Luloff, author of The Beach at Galle Road
"The Brightest Sun dazzles. A riveting page-turner filled with wonder, grace, and joy. Adrienne Benson is a fantastic writer." -Brando Skyhorse, author of The Madonnas of Echo Park and Take This Man: A Memoir
"An enchanting and deeply moving story, The Brightest Sun is a lovely portrait of three women's lives redolent with beautiful evocations of the African landscape and light. A page-turner of a tale and a stirring and finally redemptive story of mothers and daughters." -Sara Mansfield Taber, author of Born Under an Assumed Name and Dusk on the Campo
About the Author
Adrienne Benson grew up traversing sub-Saharan Africa, finding homes in Zambia, Liberia, Kenya, and Cote d'Ivoire. She is now happily ensconced in Washington, D.C. with her three kids. Her writing has appeared in Buzzfeed, The Foreign Service Journal, Brain, Child, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, ADDitude Magazine, and several anthologies. The Brightest Sun is her first novel.
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Three women living three uniquely different lives find their paths crossing in unexpected ways. Have you ever wondered how your family history, or where you were born affects the life you lead? This book follows three women, and two young girls who navigate the challenges and privileges that their individual lifestyles have provided them.
Leona is an archaeologist who heads to Kenya to live with and observe the Maasai people as soon as she is able to escape her parent’s indulgent lifestyle. An unexpected pregnancy in an unfamiliar world turns Leona’s plans upside down.
Jane traveled to Africa with the goal of saving elephants from poachers, and becomes entangled in the literally deadly lifestyle. Unsure of her ability to live with the dangers her job brings, she finds herself becoming the wife of a traveling diplomat and raising her daughter Grace.
Simi is a barren Massai woman who wants nothing more than to be a mother. She fears if she does not provide her husband with children, he will no longer need her, and where will that leave her?
Grace and Adia are young American girls raised in unconventional conditions. The story is how all these females, young and old impact each other’s lives, whether directly or indirectly as they learn, grow and build relationships.
Upon reading the author’s note at the end when I finished the book, I was so taken with the premise of this story, where it began, and why she wrote it. Learning that she herself lived in Africa for a time, traveled around and created some of the characters from her own experiences made this already beautifully written story come even more to life. I am sure everyone wonders at some point what it feels like to step into someone else’s shoes for a time. What makes the stories of these women so fascinating is many of them came from a life not so different from mine, and they ventured so far from home, with minimal knowledge of what lay ahead. They stepped out on faith, and experienced things many of us may never encounter. Some of it was heartbreaking, some of it was uplifting, but all of it was life altering. What a beautifully written book. An absolute must read!
Five beautifully bright stars!
**Review by Amy, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night with Books**