Title: An Elephant in My Kitchen
Author: Francoise Malby-Anthony
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Africa, Conservation, Nature
Dates read: 11th – 13th November 2020
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘That feisty French temperament will take her places,’ I laughed.
A chic Parisienne, Francoise never expected to find herself living on a South African game reserve. But then she fell in love with conservationist Lawrence Anthony and everything changed. After Lawrence’s death, Francoise faced the daunting responsibility of running Thula Thula without him. Poachers attacked their rhinos, their security team wouldn’t take orders from a woman and the authorities were threatening to cull their beloved elephant family. On top of that, the herd’s feisty new matriarch Frankie didn’t like her.
In this heart-warming and moving book, Francoise describes how she fought to protect the herd and to make her dream of building a wildlife rescue centre a reality. She found herself caring for a lost baby elephant who turned up at her house, and offering refuge to traumatized orphaned rhinos, and a hippo called Charlie who was scared of water. As she learned to trust herself, she discovered she’d had Frankie wrong all along…
Filled with extraordinary animals and the humans who dedicate their lives to saving them, An Elephant in My Kitchen is a captivating and gripping read.
This book is… amazing. And seriously wonderful. And it made me cry. Repeatedly. And not cute, little tears. But big, fat, I kind of hate the world tears. Which I, honestly think, was the whole point. It most definitely drove home the horrors of poaching and the evils of humanity… which I already knew about. But, still, it was… intense.
An Elephant in My Kitchen is just as brilliant as the three books written by Lawrence Anthony. It is so driven by passion and love for nature. Driven by love and care. Honestly, reading these words was like talking with a friend. Or a kindred spirit. It also seriously makes me want to return to the beauty of South Africa…
The thing that makes this novel so much sadder and more tear jerking than Lawrence Anthony’s three novels is the fact that this focuses a lot closer to home. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still sad what happens in Lawrence’s novels, but there is a lot more action throughout the story. Instead, Francoise is based at home and trying to rescue orphan babies. It’s completely heartbreaking when she’s talking about the plight of babies and orphans. And the horrible lengths that people will go to to kill them…
Francoise does a great job of highlighting and promoting the importance of conservation and the horrors of poaching in this novel. She also shows the resilience and strength that she’s shown after Lawrence’s death. This is a journey of hope and survival. One that I most certainly won’t forget anytime soon.
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