If you are in the mood to read romantic books around Valentine's Day, but would like a bit more substance than the steamy romance novels can offer, then let me introduce you to Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure by Julian Smith. The book follows the real events of two men on a journey across Africa, one in 1898 and one in 2007. The motives? Love.
In 1898, British explorer Ewart Grogan set out to be the first person to cross the length of Africa in order to prove his love and dedication to his beloved, Gertrude. His intent was to prove to her skeptical step-father that he was deserving of his daughter's love. Inspired by this adventure, Julian Smith (author of the book) set out to retrace Grogan's steps across Africa, chronicle his experiences, and also prove his love for his fiance', Laura.
The book alternates between telling Grogan's story and telling Julian's. Julian often refers to Grogan's writings throughout his journey and attempts to take the same course. Not knowing much about African culture, I found the book to be quite fascinating. Reading about run-ins with wild life never seen in America except in a zoo and watching the characters become stricken with diseases we are lucky enough to be free from here kept me very interested in the book. It was very interesting to read the differences between Africa in 1898 and 2007, and even more interesting to realize that not a lot has changed.
The love story of Julian and Laura was intermingled throughout the book, but it was Ewan's passion to prove his love to Gertrude which was the true love story. Nowadays, an "I Love You" card and some flowers are enough to win over a lot of women, it is hard to imagine a time when making a commitment to go where no man has gone before was the only acceptable way to prove your love!
The mixture of adventure and love made this a very interesting read. Because there is a nice balance between the two, the book would likely be enjoyed by both men and women.
Buy it here: Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure can be purchased for $14.99 and is available from Amazon.
I was provided with the above mentioned book for thr purpose of facilitating this review. No other compensation was received and the views expressed here are my own.