I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
in eBook edition on March 19, 2012 and has 192 pages.
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Chick lit lite. I have to give it a bump up from a “3”, if only for how very knowledgeable and inspirational Metz is about life in Africa. And, hey, it’s a fun read!
The Good Bits
The story idea was cute, and Metz was generally accurate about the reality of Africa. Gotta give her a big thumbs up for that one. In fact, if any of you readers are considering a trip, this isn’t a bad inside look.
I liked her stance on the village and how the lodge impacts village life. Very nicely delivered without being preachy. Oh, lord, I thoroughly commiserate with Zara and her first day of teaching. I was really impressed with her incentives program, LOL. Brilliant.
It’s a nice cast of characters, and very few who are hate-able. Those that are, really go the distance. The romance was sweet without any great swings of drama. Embarrassing moments? Oh, yeah. Trust Zara to be stupid.
Zara is an idiot and too shallow for words — fortunately, she eventually, slowly, loses that shallow mien. She’s a lawyer, and she’s freaking because she doesn’t have her Blackberry, and she can’t get to her voicemail… One, there’s always remote access…I mean, duhhh. Two, buy another phone, even if it’s just a throwaway? Then there’s her wardrobe planning for her new volunteer position in Africa. Oh my god. How incredibly lame is she?
Considering that Zara’s favorite part of being a lawyer in New York is all the clothes shopping, you can imagine how well she’ll do in Namibia with her stilettos and designer dresses. Although, she does put them to good use, and certainly not one I would have ever imagined, LOL.
I was a bit torn on Zara’s African experience. She was such an American (hey, I can say that. I’m American). Admittedly, I had a leg up on Zara as my then-husband had been telling me tales of expat living in various parts of Africa before we moved there, but you would think in this day and age with Internet access and all that she’d have done a bit more research. Or am I reaching in believing that if you can make it through law school and pass the bar, that one is automatically smarter than the average??
Oh…then she goes and gets stupid about the ex-girlfriend. Be an adult for godsakes. Then there’s that email list — take it as a lesson yourselves, folks, set that group up ahead of time and check it twice!
All in all, in spite of my whining about Zara’s idiocies, it was a cute read and well worth the money.
Nick’s…ahem…altruism brings questions as to where he got his information, and Zara is implicated by association. Threatened with a six-month sabbatical, one of her friends talks her into volunteering in Africa.
Zara Hamilton is one of the new lawyers at Harvey and Rose in New York City with a fab boyfriend who has an even fabber bank account. Her best friend, Sal, works at the same firm.
Nick Hansen is the boyfriend of two years. Rich, charming, and arrested. Bill Hansen is his jerk of a dad. Teddy Bennett and Josh Jones, a spoiled rich kid, are Nick’s friends, his fellow felons.
Hamish Walters is a friend of Michael and JoJo’s and a jerk. Seems he’s also a wildlife biologist come to eat crow.
Emi is another of Zara’s best friends and totally infatuated with her yoga instructor, Henri. Asha is a friend of Emi’s who has just returned from a stint with a charity in Africa. JoJo, she hosts a prime-time morning to midday slot on the radio, and her husband Michael, a senior man in the Department of Foreign Affairs, are friends of Asha’s in Jo’burg. Craig, Laura, Steph, and Bec are yet more friends on Zara’s email list destined to receive tales of her African and romantic adventures.
The organization which Zara is volunteering with consists of a clinic and a school, both of which are funded by an exclusive resort. Ismail and Amy are a couple of the volunteer clinic doctors. Gabi is their unofficial greeter and a tiny terror. Nelson is the school principal. Mr. Kwilwha is in charge of the boys’ dorm; snicker…Zara has been put in charge of the girls’ dorm. All sixty of the girls. Pip seems to be Hamish’s mean second-in-command. Henriette has a thing for Hamish; Sam, a Scotland Yard detective who needed to get away; Mille Lee, a Broadway costume designer; Patricia from Brazil; and, Im from Switzerland are a few of the wildlife volunteers.
Shakira and Umbilly are the female and male cubs at the refuge.
Mark and Kelly are scouting locations for a fashion shoot with Sasha Friend, the supermodel — Hamish’s maybe-not-so-ex-girlfriend.
Harvey and Rose
Heather is Zara’s secretary at work. Janice is the PA for Ed, the managing partner. George is the head of litigation. There are two Clares in the office: evil Clare Lay, who is sleeping with George, and nice Clare Levy.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a zebra print background tinted in a gradated pink with the silhouettes of a high-heeled society chick hauling her Hermès Picotin Lock tote while walking her lion on a leash.
Oh, yeah, LOL, it is definitely a Stiletto Safari when Zara Hamilton packs for a volunteer stint in the bush!