Katherine Scholes’ novel Congo Dawn is a suspenseful yet heart-warming tale following the stories of protagonists Anna Emerson and Dan Miller, and their journeys into the unexpected.
Anna Emerson is young secretary living in the busy city of Melbourne, close by her mother. Fresh out of a divorce, Anna finds it difficult stepping outside of her comfortable lifestyle and adjusted routine. An unexpected encounter with a man reveals that her father is on his deathbed and requesting to see his daughter back in her country of birth, the Congo.
Hesitant to leave the comfort of her home and company of her mother, Anna sets out to be with her father. Upon her arrival, she is confronted with many new and unfamiliar faces, soon learning that the Congo, although fresh out of independence, is being ransacked by communists and western nations fighting for dominance over the land. Once Anna meets her estranged father, the truth of her past and the dangerous journey to finding out who she is begins.
Dan Miller, a past soldier and animal hunting enthusiast, is eager to re-enter the battlefield when called back into action against the communist rebellion. Dan’s hopes of fighting for the land’s freedom and safety soon diminishes as he encounters the reality of destruction and devastation amongst the land and the civilians. It hits him too close to home.
Both the protagonists fatefully conjoin, realising their visions of the future are parallel to one another. Anna and Dan begin to learn that their hopes and dreams, once covered with lies and heartbreak, and seeming impossible, can soon become a reality.
Katherine Scholes has skilfully written a compelling, intense and heart-warming story that portrays the importance of family. There’s strong character development as her protagonists encounter their biggest fears with determination, coming out the other end triumphantly.
It was an absolute joy to read and a story that I never wanted to end.
Reviewed by Bonnie Priadko
Rating out of 10: 9
Distributed by: Penguin Australia
Released: April 2017
RRP: $32.99 trade paperback, $19.99 paperback, $12.99 eBook