When Lions Roar

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Karen Leigh Gruber’s When Lions Roar opens with a mother’s worst nightmare. Set in the United States and South Africa, the story begins in Johannesburg at the moment Maggie’s child goes missing.

Maggie has a privileged life and a perfect marriage to the handsome and successful David, a famed photojournalist. Her eight-year-old daughter, Hannah, is a sweet and charming girl who attends an expensive private school. On the outside, Maggie’s life is like a fairy tale, and yet, she spends most of her days drinking. Through Maggie’s flashbacks, readers learn about her whirlwind romance with David and the birth of their daughter. David seems like a wonderful man, but his angry demeanor and constant criticisms eventually drive Maggie to drink in order to calm her nerves. David is as critical of Hannah, too. When David announces the trip to South Africa, Maggie has reservations about it, but he insists that she and Hannah join him.

The family travels to Johannesburg during Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Maggie and Hannah are left to their own devices while David photographs the funeral and the events held during the ten-day mourning period. Maggie and Hannah spend precious time together, just the two of them. Johannesburg is a different world from what Maggie has ever seen before, and she experiences it through her daughter’s eyes. Hannah is very special. She has a bond with the animals they see on safari, and Maggie isn’t the only one who notices. Their safari guide, Christiaan, also sees it. There is an African woman named Akilah who works at the hotel. Her daughter befriends Hannah and sees something special, too. What starts as a simple acquaintance between the two mothers, Akilah and Maggie, inevitably evolves into a deeper friendship after Hannah goes missing. During a night of heavy drinking, Maggie passes out in her hotel room. She awakens the next morning to Akilah pounding on her door, shouting, “Little Miss is gone!”

When Lions Roar is more than a mother’s emotional ride to find her lost daughter. She must also reclaim herself. Gruber weaves a larger a story about all women finding empowerment in their struggle, and includes a parable at the end of the book that is a part of this magical journey. It is told from a different perspective, and is a little jarring at first, but captures the beauty of the savannah as well as the heartache it evokes, adding a different dimension to the story.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 223 pages
Publisher Silk Dragon Press
Publish Date 2020-08-10
ISBN 0000081020203
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue August 2020
Category Popular Fiction


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