Friday, May 17, 2013

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

Synopsis:  Paris, 1923
The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even amongst Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savannah manor house, until gossip subsides.

Amidst the wonders—and dangers—of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for—and what she can no longer live without.

My Thoughts:  I am a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia series so I was really looking forward to reading A Spear of Summer Grass.  Saucy, witty, free spirit Delilah Drummond has caused one scandal too many in her family and is packed off to Africa until things blow over.  Along for the ride is her poor cousin Dora who takes on the role of lady's maid to Delilah.  The two arrive in Africa and soon discover that it is beautiful but harsh and an entirely different world than they are used to.  Delilah is as shocking as ever in her new environment, captivating all the men around her and doing pretty much as she pleases.  The longer Delilah stays the more Africa grows on her as she makes friends with native Gideon and dabbles in what passes for society in the area.  Capturing her interest most of all is Ryder White, a strong handsome man who appears to carry around as many demons as she does.  When yet another scandal rocks Delilah's life, she will need all the help she can get to save those she cares about and will finally have to decide if she can let go of the ghosts of the past to open her heart again.

I loved this book!  Deanna Raybourn writes such clever female characters and Delilah is no exception.  She refuses to apologize for who she is and at first her antics could be a little off putting, but as the story progressed and Delilah's vulnerabilities began to appear I found myself liking her a lot more.  The African landscape is brought to life here with wonderful descriptions of the wildlife and living conditions in the African savannah in the 1920's..  The book is set during a time when Kenya was making a quest for independence so political tensions run high as well as the tension between the native tribes and the white settlers. This is most clearly shown through the reprehensible actions of the foul property manager Mr. Gates.

I really liked seeing Delilah evolve and I loved electricity between her and Ryder.  The cast of supporting characters including artistic playboy Kit, no-nonsense Tusker and glamorous Helen were all interesting and varied.  This book completely sucked me in and it was nice to read an engrossing historical fiction novel that was not set in Europe.  Definitely check this out if you are a fan of her earlier books or if you like strong and quirky female characters.

This book was provided to me for review by the publisher via NetGalley.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.


There will be 2 winners for this giveaway! Each winner wil receive 1 copy of A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn courtesy of Harlequin Books.

TO ENTER: Leave your name and email address in the comments.  One extra entry each for sharing this review/giveaway via your blog, Facebook or Twitter.


GIVEAWAY ENDS: Midnight May 25th

About the Author:  
A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart.  She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history.  During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel.  After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time. Fourteen years and many, many rejections after her first novel, she signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.

Deanna’s novel Silent in the Grave won the 2008 RITA® Award for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Mystery. The Lady Julia Grey series has been nominated for several other awards, including an Agatha, three Daphne du Mauriers, a Last Laugh, four additional RITAs, and two Dilys Winns. Dark Road to Darjeeling was also a finalist for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery as well as a Romantic Reviews’ finalist for Best Book of 2010.

Visit Deanna @ her Official Site:


  1. This sounds so good, I'd love to check it out!!

  2. thanks for your great review.
    if some of your readers would like extra chances to win a copy, I still accept reviewers for the virtual book tour:

  3. Like you, I have read and loved the Lady Julia series, and am looking forward to this novel. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. This novel looks great! Different setting for historical fiction--I like that :)

    MaryKate dot Sullivan711 at gmail dot com

  5. This novel would be captivating and special. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I have enjoyed the other books written by this author. Thanks for this great review and giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  7. A Spear of Summer Grass sounds like a book i would enjoy.......

    please enter me for the giveaway!!

    thank you!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  8. I'd really love to read this! I've read really good reviews for it!

    volta2173 at sbcglobal dot net

  9. Thanks for your great review. I've never read this author and would love to win this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I am a new/returning follower. Good Luck with school!

  11. LOVE all things Deanna Raybourn. Thanks for the giveaway. nanze55(at)hotmail(dot)com

  12. Sounds like a very good and interesting read. I love the cover and the setting for this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  13. I've enjoyed her Lady Julia novels, so I look forward to reading this one. It's sounds different.