- Bunn’s impression of Kenya, its culture, challenges, and natural features
Here are a few examples from the book:
- the African limp handshake of warriors trained to show no aggression;
- the African rhythm, where the passage of time is measured in the sweep of stars, the rising of crops, the carving of cliffs by wind and rain;
- the elders’ circle where tribal leaders meet to discuss local issues
- Davis’ protagonist, Marc Royce, who characterizes a man with the standards, strengths, and physical features of a man almost any woman could love
Here are a few examples:
- Traits: strength (“swinging around, his entire body a whip”) and sensitivity (he feels for the villagers loss of their homes “with all his heart”)
- Leadership ability: called Shujaa by the elders – a warrior who rises within the tribe to save it in times of crisis
- International intrigue mixed with social justice issues
- Chinese are trying to control the world supplies of rare-earth minerals using a cheap, primitive extraction technology
- An Israeli kibbutz has found an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solution
- Portrayal of hope that people of different backgrounds and belief systems can learn to serve each other in ways that allow everyone to benefit
- Clans who were sworn enemies meet together in peace
- Representatives from the U.N., the U.S., the Kenyan government, and elders of three dozen displaced villages work out a solution to the book’s primary conflict
- The book’s ending – justice prevails: the bad guys get caught and the good people get the rewards they deserve
- Lodestone is under investigation, their worldwide assets frozen
- A Kenyan corporation is formed, holding all licenses for extraction and refinement of rare earths with one-third of all profits to go to villages
- And the missing man, Serge… you’ll have to read the book to find out if he’s found alive (and to find out if Marc gets the girl)
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Foretelling the future through dreams is—for nearly everyone—a compelling frame for storytelling. And we all know that not everything is as it seems, but I did not for a moment foresee the surprising twist to the prophesy of these dreamers. As Davis Bunn stated in his author note, he had to use his expertise from several careers to explain the aftermath realistically.
Davis uses the still-desperate economic conditions in the world as a backdrop to send a warning of the lengths to which greedy corporate types will go to gain more wealth and more power. Unlike so much of what has occurred during the last four years, though, the bad guys in the novel are caught and will likely be convicted, but the first priority is to stabilize global financial markets.
Less significant, but effective for a good read, is a romance with two very eligible men vying for one woman, the protagonist. It’s pretty clear early on which one she will choose; and almost too sweet that her Christian values are mirrored in the perfect guy, a widower and her mentor, whose daughter takes to her immediately as a mother-replacement.
- Command of language: 5 stars
Varied sentence structure; word choices that paint vivid pictures; realistic dialogue.
- Characterization: 4 stars
All the main characters were fairly well developed, although not terribly unique. The bad guys were…all bad; and the good guys rarely stepped out of character, either.
- Creativity: 5
The plot displayed an extremely creative mind. (I expected that—it’s what has made Davis Bunn one of my favorite authors—and I was not disappointed.)
- Content suitable to diverse audience(s): 4 stars
This one seems to be written almost exclusively for Christian readers. The protagonist and all those who work closely with her often pray together. The one who chooses not to is somewhat ostracized. As great as the power of prayer is and as needed in our chaotic world, I think a more subtle approach—or maybe a stronger approach showing God at work—would reach audiences who might be turned off by all the spotlight on pray-ers.
- Connection (and application) to current issues: 4.5 stars
The timing for this story is excellent; economic conditions are still fragile and exposing too many people to painful choices and harsh living conditions. My only concern is the realism of the ending.
Average – 4.5 stars
Tomorrow I will add Bunn’s answers to interview questions about this book. Please come back and bring some questions of your own!
Follow this link to read Chapter One of Hidden in Dreams
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Privilege and oppression: two sides of the same coin is the title of this slide, part of a PowerPoint presentation by Terry Keleher, a keynote speaker at Holland, Michigan’s annual “Summit on Race and Inclusion” held this week. Many of my friends and neighbors disagree, thinking individual effort is the key to the “good life.”
My own story challenges that assumption. I was born in Holland, Michigan at a time when the public school system did many things well, including teaching grammar and spelling. I was born into a family that did a few things well, including modeling a strong work ethic. Just months before my birth, my parents had come to Holland, Michigan, from their birthplaces in the hills of Kentucky. My father has a sixth grade education and my mother completed high school (although the schools would not pass today’s standards for a quality education and my parents would likely not pass the standardized tests). IF they had not moved, I would not have the education that propelled me onto two university degrees. Without some higher education, I would not have had careers in banking, economic development, and teaching. Most likely, I would not in semi-retirement be interacting with people who support my continued learning and civic engagement.
Did I construct my own destiny? NO! I was born in the right place to parents who had the courage to move from their home and who worked hard. Many people have as much ability as I do but either don’t have the educational base or the will to succeed because they’ve not seen positive outcomes of working beyond adversity. (And the positive outcomes are much less visible than in my youth–even to graduates.)
If you agree that we don’t construct our own destiny, and would like to be a part of reducing oppression, then please follow this suggestion from Charles M. Blow: According to Blow in a NYTimes editorial he wrote on June 6, we need to “have a conversation about the direction of the country that takes that [government involvement] into account but lifts the language to a level where common goals can be seen from differing racial vantage points — to show a way to be merciful to those struggling while providing a path to financial independence and social equality.”
Please reply here or send me an email (email@example.com) if you’re willing to include me among those you engage in this conversation.
[The source for the image is: “‘Better Together: Fostering Unity Through Equity,” by Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, 6/5/12.” Posted with permission.”]