The British Empire Library

Song of the Rainbird

by Barbara Whitnell

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by E.S.
Barbara Whitnell (authoress of The Ring of Bells) takes us in The Song of the Rainbird into life in Kenya from the beginning of the century through to the early 1950s.

Most young ladies, arriving at the shanty town of Nairobi, as it was at the beginning of the century, to find that their fiance had been killed in suspicious circumstances, would have gone straight back to England. But not Kate Carswell. She was already beginning to feel a love for the warmth and magnificence of Kenya and there was no, going back.

The story is one of Kate's life among the farmers, government servants, missionaries. and hunters of those earlier days, and her turmoil of feelings for her new found friend, Christy Brennan. It describes her fight for justice in a colour-conscious community, and her own family involvement with the Mau Mau. As Elspeth Huxley puts it, - "Barbara Whitnell has most skilfully evoked the atmosphere and attitudes of colonial Kenya. She has presented the viewpoints of both her black and white characters, and of one in between, fairly and perceptively, weaving them into an eventful tapestry of human hopes, failures and achievements, in a land that is always fascinating, beautiful and unpredictable."

British Empire Book
Barbara Whitnell
Hodder and Stroughton


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