Samburu Hills by Jennifer Mueller
When Celeste Reed steps off the boat in the fledgling colony of Kenya, East Africa she finds out the man that she was to marry doesn't even care to get to know her let alone listen to a word she says. Life is miserable and then he has the nerve to die leaving her to run an estate without any money. It seems he spent all he had to impress the colony and she was just part of the package. Africa is unforgiving to the weak, but it can be the people that you least expect that make it. And then there's Edward.
August 7, 1907
I have arrived at my new home in Africa. I give Nicholas credit, the site is beautiful. The sky is covered with a thick patchwork of black and white clouds washed in color like a painted photograph, shades of blue and yellow hover over the red dirt of the countryside. Hills rise from the plains, not gently slopping hulks like at home, but large distinct bodies that stop before the next one starts. The hills surround me like a crown and rocks jut from them like jewels. In the diffused light outside, the conglomeration of clouds and rising sun cause the earth to be covered in odd shadows. Some hills are illuminated, some hidden in shadow, and others lost in the haze and clouds that the heat of the day has yet to burn off. The acacia trees turn a luminous gold. The trees and bushes on the hills burst forth as if viewed on a stereoscope. Now and then, herds of zebra or gazelle stop at the reduced river to drink. There is a drought on the land. Last night I heard my first lion roar and as I sat outside watching the sunrise, a giraffe passed by only a dozen feet away while the scent of Africa swirled about me.
The rest of my life is not so lovely, for when I pull back the net to keep away the dreadful mosquitoes, I am in hell. My house is made of mud with a thatch roof and a dirt floor. There are no windows or doors. Except for what I have brought with me, there is no furniture except for makeshift contraptions of packing crates and old paraffin tins. I seriously wonder what Nicholas is thinking when there is a house full of servants and no house. Amir, the cook that Nicholas brought with him from India, is quite a handsome little rascal. His wife Dunmeya has become maid. There is a Somali butler, Sayid in his long dress of the musselman and a waistcoat. There is a housekeeper named Zahra, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. I do not have to lift a finger. He seems to forget I was raised on a farm and ran it after my mother died. Yet, he allows me to do nothing. He talks only of India and England as if he never left. He treats the servants as servants, which means I can hardly talk to them. I share his bed and yet he tells me nothing of what he is doing. I am ignored, that is the worst hell in all of this. Even if all I had was respect, I think I could handle this life better, but he does not even give me that. I have long wondered why he would marry the gamekeeper’s daughter. I think I have arrived at an answer, it is the only way he can feel superior to a wife. Something tells me no one of title or wealth would have the lout not as a husband anyway.
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How to Ruin a Season at http://www.thedarkcastlelords.com
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