Welcome to the book tour for When Lions Roar by Karen Leigh Gruber. Not only am I sharing an excerpt and my thoughts about the book with you today, but also Karen is giving us some background on the book. Please let her know what you think in the comments and follow the tour to do so even more. You'll also have more chances to enter the great giveaway at the end!
Two women from different lands, each struggling to survive; a child’s mysterious disappearance will alter both their lives forever…
Maggie has become unrecognizable to herself, succumbing to the predictability of being a mother and wife. Every day she reminds her daughter to brush her teeth, has the same conversation with her husband about what’s for dinner. Maggie struggles to cope with the disenchantment of the monotonous tedium that has become her life. Despite her boredom, when her husband David is called on assignment to South Africa, Maggie resents having to rearrange her life just because David has decided they all need to traipse halfway across the globe.
While on safari, Maggie awakens one morning to a mother’s worst nightmare; their daughter Hannah has gone missing. Just when things can’t get any worse, Maggie is confronted with the harsh truth of her emotionally abusive marriage and what she has allowed her life to become.
When Lions Roar is set against the backdrop of the exotic and intriguing landscape of South Africa, when the country is reeling from the aftershocks of apartheid. Will Maggie find the strength and courage to abandon the fragile ties of her marriage and confront her self-destruction in time to save the life of her daughter?
As we enjoyed our breakfast, my mind tended to wander. That morning, as I looked at my divine daughter, a million thoughts came rushing in. She is so kind, so smart, and so emotionally in tune, this young girl. As I watched her interact with the world and the people within it, I was touched by how compassionate and thoughtful she is. She was so respectful and engaging of the people around her, whether it’s a peer, a person of authority, and especially now, the personnel catering to our every need here in our little hotel bubble. Between the culture, the language, and the accents, there were challenges in communication. Hannah had a smile for everyone, and they, in turn, lit up when she spoke to them. Her demeanor truly reflected that a stranger was just someone she hadn’t met yet, and everyone we encountered responded in kind. I couldn’t help but be so proud of her. I thought back to all the moms I knew who insisted they could never travel that far away with their kids, which made me sad for them because I didn’t think I could ever travel that far away without her. She was such a wonderful travel companion.
Getting to experience the world through her eyes was a true gift.
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This is an interesting mix of a couple of tales. First you have the story of Maggie, who is trying to deal with being in an abusive marriage and trying to be the best mother to her daughter. (And trigger warnings for readers that Maggie's husband is verbally abusive, and there is a brief marital rape scene.) She drinks away her demons because she doesn't know what else to do. But her love for her daughter is simply breathtaking.
When they go on their trip, Maggie is forced to face her demons head-on, especially after Hannah disappears. And this means her present, tactile demons, as well as the ones inside of her head. And she ends up becoming a better person for it.
At the same time, you end up with an African legend that parallels Maggie's own story and also explains what has actually happened. It's almost like reading a second book, and yet it's extremely interesting and makes complete sense when you put the two of them together.
I enjoyed this trip to South Africa. I have always been fascinated by stories that take place in Africa, plus a cousin of mine spent time there and married a woman from there. Choosing it to take place during the death of Nelson Mandela is an interesting time period. And bonus points have to go to mentioning Amarula, which is absolutely delicious and was a weekend beverage of choice for me for a while a few years ago
Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish Promotions for fulfilling my review request. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Background on the Book
Five years ago, my family and I got the unbelievable opportunity to travel to South Africa. We spent two weeks on Safari with a group of family members; and a third week exploring Cape Town, just me, my husband, and our daughter. This trip was the furthest away I had ever been from the States and seemed very exotic to me, having the opportunity to go to Africa.
Unlike the main character of the book, Maggie, I was ecstatic about the opportunity to go Africa. This was something so out of the realm of possibility for me, it wasn't even on my life list. It was unfathomable to me that I would ever get to do something like this, so when the organizer of the trip said “Yes, you may bring along your six-year old”, we were all in.
The continent of Africa is massive and the cultures within it are far too numerous to mention. I only experienced a tiny little taste, but even that miniscule morsel was life changing.
Being out in the wilderness, the Bush, the Veld, the Savannah, it all felt like coming home to me. I felt such a connection to that land and its inhabitants, particularly the animals. I wish everyone would get to have the experience I did. I know I came back a different woman, Africa cracked open a deep desire to live a more primal life. And by that, I mean live authentically without all the walls and facades. I want people to see me, to know me, the soul of me.
My experience in Africa was just begging to come forth in some fashion. I was captivated by how the lodges were run and the guides all working together and the gloriousness of the animals. Getting to see these beautiful beasts in their natural environment is so moving, I cannot seem to put words to it.
The sky is different in Africa and night after night we saw constellations that we never see in the Northern hemisphere. My daughter got to see the Scorpio constellation, her Zodiac sign, which was breathtaking. The food, the clothing, the singing rhythm of the drums, the aromas, hearing an animal call in victory or distress across the camp, monkeys stealing our things, sleeping in structures with no electricity to visiting the most luxurious of accommodations. Every part of everyday was a new adventure.
My intent with the novel When Lions Roar, was to give readers a taste, a tease, of what it was like to be in Africa and spark a desire to make that trip. There is a harsh unforgiving edge to South Africa, but the contrast, the majestic wonder and the beauty all come together and are present in the most magical of ways. How could I not write about that?
In many ways, like our heroine, Maggie, Africa permeated my soul and healed me in ways I did not realize I needed to be healed. That's why it is so important to stay open to the experiences and opportunities that come your way and to stay curious about and lean into the offerings life has for you.
Karen Gruber is an international #1 best-selling contributing author, inspirational speaker, and a Leadership Development Coach for women and moms. She specializes in inspiring moms to realize their potential as mothers, women, and leaders. Karen has had extensive specialized training in parenting, feminine spirituality, and leadership. Over the past 15 years she has provided innovative leadership coaching for moms and has dramatically transformed her own life.
Sharing her life with her husband Jim and daughter Jaymie, presenting her message to other women, and traveling the world bring her the greatest joy.
She is the founder of The Inspired Mama, a company located in gorgeous Denver, Colorado that focuses on the inspiration, leadership, and wellbeing of women and moms.
When Lions Roar is Karen’s debut fictional work. She is freakish about Christmas lights and loves to play Baccarat.
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