In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Sadly, this is a DNF for me.  My Kindle says I'm 57% of the way through and it has been more or less the same place for about a month.  In that time, I've finished other books and keep coming back to this, just not making any headway.  The writing is really quite good but the story seems to be wandering around and going nowhere and I'm giving up in frustration.  I no longer care where Henry is or why he is so elusive.  I'm sad to abandon this - other reviewers have confirmed what I hoped when I started this book - the plot, setting, genre all appealed to be just the kind of novel I would enjoy.  It just didn't gel for me.
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Lillian knew what her life was about. She felt a personal responsibility to do her part in changing the world. She wanted to use her gift of her education to teach children.
Her clarity of purpose took her too Rwanda. By the time we meet her - she’s been living in Rwanda for 30 years. She is no longer teaching in a school - she takes malnourished orphan kids into her home....on her farm.
Lillian raised and educated 48 orphans....still taking more. Many of these kids - or infants - saw their mother’s get slaughtered. Lillian said Genocide was far too polite. We don’t enjoy reading that line - but she’s damn right.

Lillian not only makes the children super-power cookies packed with...

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They say we are the sum of our experiences. And, although my preference for reading over math has never been a secret (sorry, math nerds) I entirely believe this to be true.

When reading, I find it so much easier to meaningfully connect with characters with whom I share some digits in the otherwise distinctive equations of our lives.

Oddly, though I may outwardly appear dissimilar to the characters that populate In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, the events that shaped me are quite parallel to those that impact the protagonist of this moving Jennifer Haupt novel.

While this book is about many things, the spine of the tale is the protagonist – Rachel’s – search for her father, Henry, a man...

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In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills
by Jennifer Haupt
Reviewed by Kay Stephen
January 6, 2018

Wow! This author, Jennifer Haupt, has taken an unbelievably difficult setting -- the 1994 Rwandan Genocide -- and woven it into the novel's background, from where it slowly emerges as a central premise. Haupt introduces the reader to the genocide gently, as if she is aware that the horror it entailed could quickly overwhelm one. Indeed the novel initially focuses on the grief of a woman in New York who has lost her second unborn child. With some very clever planning Haust brings this grieving mother to Rwanda ten years after the genocide. On the surface, this woman believes she is on a quest...

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This is a gripping read, the characters are honest and I felt for the pain they endured. The theme of forgiveness and reconciliation appeals to me.
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Obviously the core of the story, the Rwanda genocide, is a difficult, yet compelling story. And I was intrigued with how the author tried to bring together the various story lines.  But I was disappointed with the writing, a few key characters fell flat for me.
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I just finished reading In The Shadow of 10,000 Hills. It truly is one of the best novels I have read this year. The author, Jennifer Haupt, brings you deeply into the lives of the characters in her story.
This is a powerful and engrossing story that follows the life of Rachel as she navigates her way through love, grief, violence and the search for a reconnection with her father. We also get to know Lillian, who meets Rachel’s father in civil rights era Atlanta. The two women have little motive to trust each other, but in Rwanda the women find their lives intertwined in Lillian’s orphanage and come to rely in each other for support, community, and survival.
This is the story about...

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IN THE SHADOW OF 1000 HILLS

by

Jennifer Haupt

This is one of the finest books I have read recently. It opens with the picture of a blood spattered child, hiding in a ruined shack, frozen with fear. What she witnessed, the horror of people chopped to death with machetes, will never leave her, the screams of friends and family who did not escape haunting her dreams forever. She cowers in the filth waiting for the return of a man who has wrapped her in his shirt, promising to return when it is safe. This is Rwanda during the horrific genocide that occurred there in the 1990s.
The story moves to the present day in New York where Rachel and her husband are struggling with another...

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This was a beautiful story of love and loss, universal to those around the globe. The author developed the characters in a way that made them come alive. The descriptions of the African scenery were exquisite as was the development of the characters’ feelings for one another. I especially love how the tension between Lillian and Rachel slowly eroded away into a heartfelt understanding built on their mutual love and loss. The struggles the characters endured seemed authentic. I especially enjoyed reading how the women in Henry’s life came to respect him for his flaws. I could relate to this as he shares some qualities with my own father and I feel like, often in life, we do ourselves a favor...

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A story about a woman who goes on a quest to find her father, which leads her to Rwanda, and a new future. The Rwandan genocides play an important part in the story, and I was especially drawn to the story of the African-American character who moved there to take in and help orphans of the war. 

A horrendous time in the country's history, I found parts of the story very interesting, but was unable to connect with other parts. I ended up skimming a lot of it, finding it a little too predictable and drawn out.
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Whether you’re looking for a fulfilling novel, a transporting reading experience, or a great book club discussion book, choose Jennifer Haupt’s debut. In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills portrays interweaving journeys in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide with a sensitivity and universality that make the unbearable bearable. It’s the story of an American daughter’s journey to find the father who abandoned her; the saga of an orphanage before, during, and after the carnage; and the tragedy of neighbors slaughtered by neighbors followed by the uneasy miracle of survivors living together again. It’s an epic of hearts broken, scars healing, and the everyday and extraordinary choices people have to...

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This book was appealing to me because I was so deeply moved by Phillip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We May Be Killed with Our Families and was interested in reading an exploration of grace and forgiveness after the genocide in Rwanda. Unfortunately, the several threads of this novel Did not seem to be getting me to where I expected to be and, ultimately, this novel ended up being one that did not finish.
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I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this book sounded like it would be my perfect read, but sadly I just did not connect with the story at all. I've read many books on harrowing subjects (here the author covers genocide in Rwanda) and they usually have something in amongst the bleakness that compels you to keep reading, but I just couldn't find it here and found myself skim reading pages.

There are many timeline leaps and they were hard to keep track of along with the raft of characters. The constant mentions of miscarriage were depressing on top of the already tragic main topic too.  Sorry, not one for me.
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