Hands Full of Ashes
by Kim Hotzon
Olivia promises her dying husband that she will spread his ashes around the world. Landing in Africa, Olivia begins volunteering at an orphanage. After a weekend excursion viewing mountain gorillas, Olivia is unaware of how drastically her life is about to change. Love was never part of her plan . . .
Read an excerpt:
She didn't want to miss a single breath, any slight movement. It was so hard to see him as he was now, skeletal and pale, his veins prominent against the sickly pallor of his face, and yet she couldn't look away.
Jack opened his eyes, straining to focus on his wife. “Don't forget your promise,” he whispered.
Olivia swallowed hard as she tried to steady her trembling lips. “I won't.” She laid her cheek against his dark stubble. “I love you, Jack,” she said quietly, though she feared he couldn't hear her. “And I will keep your promise.”
In response, the monitor emitted a terrifying, steady beep. Its line coursed straight across the bottom of the screen. Olivia let out a whimper and plunged forward, burying her face in his neck.
“He's gone,” the nurse said.
Olivia's eyes went to her husband's face again. He looked peaceful. No more pain. She ran her hand along the cheap cotton blanket, and it folded in her fingers against the outline of his leg. Still warm.
Grief surrounded her, and she willingly fell into its depths. Images of their wedding swirled around in her head. Olivia remembered the excitement of being with Jack, the heat that reached out from his muscular arms whenever he embraced her. Snapshots of their home, their ski trips, and quiet nights with their dog Scruffy floated vividly in her mind. Her future now loomed over her, bleak and lonely. She would never have this kind of love again.
This story starts out tugging at your heartstrings, as you are right there with Olivia as she says goodbye to her husband. If you have ever sat with someone dying in Hospice, you know that unique pain of sitting with someone as he takes his last breath.
In her grief, Olivia decides that she is going to honor his husband's wishes to have his ashes scattered around the world. She also decides that she needs some time away from her life. She goes as far away as she can, to Africa.
A trip to Africa always seems to be a life-changing experience for people. In Olivia's case, she comes to terms with her grief over losing her husband and finds a new purpose in life. Relationships with new people teach her that she is still capable of loving and of moving on. She also unfortunately becomes exposed to Africa's terrible other side, which was a bit of a shock when it happened. I wasn't expecting any of that.
The descriptions of the pain and suffering in Uganda, the Congo, Rwanda, will tug at your heartstrings. The settings come alive so well that you just know the author has some experience over there. Despite the scary occurrences of violence that occur on the continent, you cannot help but feel compelled to hop on a plane and go there yourself. I remember feeling this way every time I read 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver.
This was a different type of romance with elements of suspense thrown in that makes for a nice change of pace in the genre. It isn't going to be for everyone, but I enjoyed it.
Born in beautiful British Columbia, Kim developed a passion for writing at an early age. Her interest in people led her all over the globe, including a two year stay in Japan and a humanitarian trip to Rwanda.
She loves to write contemporary romance stories that feature strong women who deal with compelling issues. Kim enjoys adding unexpected twists, usually involving a dangerous and dramatic backdrop. Her first novel, Hands Full of Ashes, was inspired by her trip to Africa.
Kim spent many years teaching young adults with learning disabilities at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and she currently resides in the sunny Okanagan with her husband and two children. When not writing, she can be found plying the local ski hills, or getting lost in her kayak in the surrounding lakes.
You can get in touch with Kim by visiting her website http://www.kimhotzon.com/ or follow her at:
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