Spotlight Post: THE HUNDRED WELLS OF SALAGA by Ayesha Harruna Attah

The Hundred Wells of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah
ISBN: 9781590519950 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781590519967 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781978649132 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07CWGHDNS (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Other Press
Release Date: February 5, 2019

Based on true events, a story of courage, forgiveness, love, and freedom in precolonial Ghana, told through the eyes of two women born to vastly different fates. 

Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that transforms her from a daydreamer into a resilient woman. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, is desperate to play an important role in her father’s court. These two women’s lives converge as infighting among Wurche’s people threatens the region, during the height of the slave trade at the end of the nineteenth century.

Through the experiences of Aminah and Wurche, The Hundred Wells of Salaga offers a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.

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Read an excerpt from The Hundred Wells of Salaga here.

Praise for The Hundred Wells of Salaga

“A skillful portrayal of life in pre-colonial Ghana emphasizes distinctions of religion, language, and status…[Attah] has a careful eye for domestic and historical detail.” —The Guardian

“Compelling…rich and nuanced…Attah is adept at leading readers across the varied terrain of 19th-century Ghana and handles heavy subjects with aplomb. Two memorable women anchor this pleasingly complicated take on slavery, power, and freedom.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An alluring story…a novel with the power to open eyes and hearts while filling minds with plenty of food for thought.” —Shelf Awareness

“Analogous to Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning Nervous Conditions, this spacious work will appeal to readers of African and historical fiction.” —Library Journal

Meet the author

Ayesha Harruna Attah grew up in Accra, Ghana and was educated at Mount Holyoke College, Columbia University, and New York University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Asymptote Magazine, and the 2010 Caine Prize Writers’ Anthology. Attah is an Instituto Sacatar Fellow and was awarded the 2016 Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship for nonfiction. She lives in Senegal.

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The Hundred Wells of Salaga

The Hundred Wells of Salaga: A Novel

The Hundred Wells of Salaga


The Hundred Wells of Salaga



Book 106: SWEET MERCY Review

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock
ISBN:  9780764210464 (paperback)
ISBN:  9781441261496 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00B85M16C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.

St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.” They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.

Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?

Eve Marryat is a young woman with fervent beliefs. She lives her life in black and white and has tremendous problems accepting that the world has lots of grey areas. She strongly believes that prohibition is good for everyone, criminals are always evil, and that all wrongs must be punished. After witnessing a gang-related shooting on the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota and her father’s job loss, Eve and her parents move to Mercy, Ohio. Eve’s father has been given a job working with his older brother at the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge. Eve and her mother are also given tasks to help in the operation of the lodge. Eve presumes that Mercy, Ohio is a long away from the societal ills she experienced in Minnesota and begins to enjoy her life at the lodge. She has a boyfriend for the first time in her life and is surrounded by family and new friends in an idyllic setting. Regrettably reality intrudes on Eve’s rosy world and she must ultimately decide if she can accept the shades of grey within the lives of her loved ones or destroy her family’s refuge.

Ms. Tatlock paints a vivid picture of rural life during the Depression era. She doesn’t sugarcoat the unpleasantness but rather presents it as is without prejudice. Eve may be a typical teenage girl in the 1930s but she seems to lack guile and have a certain naïveté about life and the real world. She has judged the gangsters in Minnesota and deemed them corrupt and evil. She has judged her older sister’s behavior and found it lacking in morality. Now she is faced with judging those she has become very close to, namely her uncle Cy. It is in small town Mercy, Ohio that Eve learns not to be so quick to judge and accept people for what they are, warts and all. Sweet Mercy is a coming of age story where the main character, Eve Marryat, learns acceptance without prejudice and the true meaning of mercy. I found Sweet Mercy to be an engrossing and fast read (my only interruptions were caused by severe migraine headaches). The characters are all easy to relate to and realistic. The setting of the lodge and Mercy, Ohio makes for an ideal backdrop for Eve’s story. If you enjoy reading uplifting historical fiction, then add Sweet Mercy to your reading list.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley and Book Blasts & Blog Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book 265: WAKE Review

Being a teenager is difficult. Being a teenager trying to start over is double hard. Willa Kirk is only 18 years old but is trying to restart her life in her old hometown in the middle of her senior year at high school. Jem Harper is trying to deal with the stigma of being known as the “cancer guy.” All he wants is to get better and get through the school year. These two teens are the heart and soul of Wake by Abria Mattina.

There’s some typical teenage angst in Wake but not much of it is because of Willa or Jem. These two start with an antagonistic relationship that quickly develops into an antagonistic friendship. They are both outsiders trying to strike a balance with their families and school. Jem is recovering from cancer treatment and a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately the cancer is in remission, unfortunately all of the medications he’s on cause him to continually suffer from extreme nausea. His diet is limited to soup, Jell-O, and smoothies and he often has difficulties with these items. Jem has had a truly rough year. His family relocated from Ottawa to Smiths Falls (a small town) and he was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the move. His entire persona in this new town is as the “cancer guy.” His friends from his hometown aren’t quite sure how to deal with his diagnosis but they’re too far away to be a support system.

Willa’s situation is somewhat similar to Jem’s in that she is also dealing with being the new kid without really being the new kid. She grew up in Smiths Falls but her family had moved out of the province. Now she’s dealing with the death of her older sister, Tessa, and some bad decisions that resulted in a brief psychiatric hospitalization. Her parents can’t quite deal with her problems since they came so quickly after Tessa’s death, so she’s shipped off to stay with her older brother Frank.

Much of the story takes place over the course of six months and is told in alternating voices by Jem and Willa. The same time periods are presented in alternating perspectives which add to our understanding of Jem and Willa. The reader is allowed to see the development from both points of view and provides a better understanding of both characters. There are also a few chapters told from the perspective of Jem’s sister Elise and brother Eric toward the end, along with one chapter by Frank early in the book and these provide additional insight into the action within the story.

Wake is filled with secrets revealed, self-acceptance and love. Jem is fortunate that he has unconditional love and support from his family but he still needs to be seen as an individual that has something to offer. Willa doesn’t really have the support of her family although her brother Frank is trying. She is dealing with a lot of guilt over her past actions and wants to be accepted for who she is, warts and all. There’s a lot going on in Wake and Ms. Mattina does a fantastic job at providing the reader with the information necessary to see the big picture. I didn’t like this story initially as I couldn’t really see, or appreciate, where it was going, but by the time I was a little more than one-third of the through I was hooked. I wanted to see what was going to happen, if anything, between Jem and Willa. This isn’t a traditional YA coming-of-age story nor is it a traditional teen love story; it is a little of both and so much more.  

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Naomi Roberts appears to be a typical teenager. She’s eager to study abroad and broaden her horizons. Her grandmother wants nothing more for Naomi to stay in Germany, but she grudgingly accepts that Naomi will be leaving to go study in the United States. Before she leaves, she tells her of their family’s secret and cautions her to look out for anything unusual. J.J. Biddell provides a coming-of-age tale with a twist In The Shadow of the Moonlight – The Awakening.

Naomi isn’t sure about her grandmother’s story of werecats, but she feels sure she has nothing to worry about. She acclimates to the US and begins her studies. She even finds new friends in fellow student, Alice, and a town resident, Sammy. She also finds a new love interest in an instructor, Roman. Naomi maintains contact with her mother and grandmother, but is beginning to enjoy her new found freedom in the US.

But all is not as easy and joyous as it should be. Naomi and Roman have a great relationship. Naomi and Alice have a great friendship, but there’s something just a little off with Sammy. And just when Naomi is beginning to think that things couldn’t get any better, she begins to feel strange and out-of-sorts. In due time she comes to learn that her grandmother’s tale of werecats isn’t so strange or bizarre. A mysterious stranger appears and tries to teach Naomi what she needs to know about being a werecat. One lesson she doesn’t want to accept is that she must break off her relationship with Roman, especially now that she’s pregnant.

This was a hard story for me to read for a variety of reasons. First, I was reading from a digital copy and the print was bright red and couldn’t be changed. Second, there were numerous errors in syntax and semantics, not to mention typographical errors. The author is German, yet the bulk of the action is taking place in the US, and it reads like someone that has read a guide book as opposed to someone familiar with US customs, language and academics. The story isn’t bad and I can’t say that it was badly written as it was translated, so I presume that this is just a poor translation. 

In addition to these problems, there were glaring plot problems such as Naomi being raped but never knowing about and it being glossed over and only mentioned in passing. Why is Naomi’s grandmother overly protective but her mother rather laid back? I can accept that she’s concerned about the possibility of Naomi being a werecat but her actions seem a bit much. The story in the prologue doesn’t seem to be beneficial other than to say that werecats were despised as evil and possibly satanic, but that was in the 16th century and appears to have no relevance to today. How did both Sammy and Kai know that Naomi was coming to the US and coming to Maine specifically? I finished reading the story with more questions than answers. I wish I could say I enjoyed reading In The Shadow of the Moonlight – The Awakening, but the errors (grammatical, typographical and linguistic), were simply too much for me to overlook. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 156: TENDERFOOT Review

Amy Tupper has provided a slightly different coming-of-age story in Tenderfoot. Julianna, or Jules, is starting college when she notices that her sight has changed. She can read the text in a book from across the room. She can also hear through walls and her sense of taste has gone completely wild (she can actually picture the surroundings of an animal when eating meat and diary products). If that wasn’t weird enough, she can also “hear” the thoughts of others, okay not everyone but just one person . . . Nicholas “Nick” Grimm. Jules learns that Nick is a troll or faery and basically her protector. He was also her mother’s protector and her grandmother’s protector. Nick has been protecting the special women in her family for generations. 

College is hard enough without throwing all of the faery items into the mix but add some romance and Tenderfoot raises the ante. Jules learns to handle college, even the boring aspects. Jules also must come to grips with her “romance” with Andrew, another freshman and fencer extraordinaire. Tenderfoot realistically explores the drama and angst of college while adding first love and Swedish faery lore into the mix. Jules doesn’t weave spells, she can’t fly, and she doesn’t have superhuman strength. She does have grit and determination and is a likable character. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 154: DARKHOUSE Review

Is it normal to have had imaginary friends and an overactive imagination? Perry Palamino lives with these questions in the paranormal/horror story Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle.

In some ways Darkhouse seems to be a coming-of-age story with Perry learning to deal with her differences. The problem is that Perry apparently sees dead people and always has. Her younger sister, Ada, the fashionista, makes reference to Perry scaring her with this ability as a young child. Although Perry is 22 years old and gainfully employed — as a receptionist at an advertising agency, she feels unsure of herself and where she needs to be and go in life. To make matters worse, she was an extremely troubled teen and dabbled in drugs, alcohol and even cutting to help deal with her inner pains. Perry now feels that she owes her parents some normalcy. But Perry isn’t “abnormal” she just has an ability that others don’t have and can’t quite understand . . . the ability to see ghosts.

During a trip to the coast to visit family, Perry decides to explore an old, defunct lighthouse. Of course she’s exploring it late at night and no one knows where she’s gone (wouldn’t be as dramatic otherwise). She’s spent the day photographing nature and still has her camera, which is a good thing, because her dreams (or rather nightmares) have just come to life. Fortunately she is able to film some of her ghostly encounters but she also encounters Declan “Dex” Foray, a cameraman/producer of webcasts. Perry has the opportunity to write about this incident when Ada is down-and-out due to a virus and unable to post to her fashion blog. Perry’s ghostly encounter video becomes viral and Dex returns with the offer to host a webcast on ghost hunting. 

What follows are a series of unfortunate encounters with an elderly woman that only Dex and Perry can see, and this serves to heighten the fear factor when they return to the lighthouse. Is the lighthouse haunted or is it simply evil? Are Dex and Perry “crazy” or simply in touch with energies other’s can’t see or feel? Where will these abilities lead them? Ms. Halle has crafted a dark story filled with horrifying moments. For me this was simply an okay read (I didn’t connect to this story). Darkhouse is well written and the characters are believable with all of their idiosyncracies and eccentricities. If you’ve read Darkhouse and are looking for more paranormal/horror, then note that Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2) is now available.

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”