A lushly imagined novel that asks, “When do we ever really know ourselves?”
When Rebecca Laurelson is forced to leave her post as a trauma surgeon in an east African field hospital, she arrives at her aunt’s house on the Indian Ocean and is taken into the heart of a family she has never met before. It’s a world of all-night beach parties and constant cocktail receptions, and within its languorous embrace her attraction for her much younger cousin grows.
But the gilded lives of her aunt Julia’s family and their fellow white Africans on the coast are under threat - Islamist terror attacks are on the rise and Rebecca knows more about this violence than she is prepared to reveal. Will she be able to save her newfound family from the violence that encroaches on their seductive lives? Or, amidst growing unrest, will the true reason for her hasty exit from her posting be unmasked? Rebecca finds herself torn between the family she hardly knows and a past she dares not divulge.
What the critics say
“Compulsively readable.... An accomplished travel writer who has been drawn to outposts as remote as Antarctica, McNeil writes descriptions that shimmer.... We learn the cause of Rebecca's trauma in a scene so brutal and eloquent I reread it several times, astonished and awed.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Jean McNeil's latest is a completely absorbing, eminently readable - to the point of being almost unputdownable - complex, cleverly crafted work, principally about loyalty: what we owe to our country, our relatives, those we love and those who simply cross our path. You won't read many better novels this year.” (Daily Mail)
“The great joy in The Dhow House, [McNeil's] eleventh book, is her exceptional ability to illuminate setting and the natural world.... McNeil's writing is as lush and vivid as the changing hues of the Indian Ocean...the sense of place and insight into the mysterious inclinations of the heart linger long after the last page.” (Toronto Star)