Burning Embers is a contemporary historical romance set in 1970s Kenya. It tells the story of the developing love and passion between Coral, a naive, young English girt returning to the place of her birth, and Rafe, the handsome but tortured womanizer to whom Coral is inextricably drawn.
It’s a story of long, hot African days and sultry nights; of slumbering beasts and awakening desires; of intrigue and darkness; of journeys beginning and ending; of growing up and letting go; of falling in love, and following your heart.
This book was a real surprise to me, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. ”Burning Embers” is that kind of romance that makes you sigh dreamily and lets your mind wonder to the beautiful lands of Africa, where it’s set. Hannah Fielding writes so beautifully that I really felt like I was being embraced by the magical atmosphere of Kenya and I was witnessing the touching love story between Coral and Rafe unfold.
Rafe has definitely entered the list of my favorite male characters. He’s a handsome 36 year old man, whose magnetism is hard to resist, whose touch causes goosepimples all over, and whose manners are so impeccable that you find yourself charmed by him before you even know it. He has a heavy burden on his shoulders that plagues him and that made him the womanizer he is at the beginning, but when he meets Coral, everything he believed in till that moment is abruptly questioned.
Coral is a young and intelligent woman who knows what it means to experience heartbreak, but who doesn’t give up. I admired how she handled her suffering and how she was able to face the new feelings that Rafe stirred in her. Their love story doesn’t come without obstacles. Many are the hurdles that they have to overcome and the most threatening of all is their past. There’s also the superstition and magic of the African population, as well as former lovers that will do anything to tear them apart. Rafe and Coral embark on a complicated relationship where they’d like to give everything to one another, but they have to hold back, instead. Will they be able to face up to all that? That was the question that kept nagging my mind, page after page. I didn’t see a lot of things coming and I often found myself gasping at new turns of events.
I rooted for Coral and Rafe with all my heart and I loved every single moment they share in the story, even the most dreadful ones, when I feared their love wasn’t going to make it. In some scenes I wanted to scream, jump into the story and help them get rid of the nastiness surrounding them, but they had to face all that in order to truly appreciate and love one another. There are some hot scenes in the book, which at the same time are really tender, that made me squirm in my seat…They are well written, with the right amount of detail and Rafe comes across as that kind of guy who wants to bring pleasure to the woman he loves more than anything **fans self**
Another thing I loved was the way Hannah Fielding writes about Kenya, how she describes it. I really enjoyed reading about the beautiful African land, and it was like its trees and wide spaces were conjuring up before my eyes. Several African traditions and sayings are also mentioned and I loved learning about them.
The secondary characters are well crafted and hold their own in the story and I found myself growing fond of two in particular: Aluna, Coral’s yaha ( nanny) and Dr. Frank. There are a lot of scenes where they made me giggle with their antics and others where I couldn’t help but admire them.
This is a story about learning to let go of our past and to embrace the present and the chances that are given to us. It tells us to forgive ourselves and not to fear to take risks, because we could be missing out on something special… A book that’s really worth the read.
I give it 4.5 hearts
And now some of my favorite passages:
“Her stranger’s face came unbidden to her mind. She could see his features quite distinctly, sparkling enigmatic eyes, well-defined lips, and determined jaw. She was seized by a curious desire to see him again, to talk to him, get to know him better. They had only exchanged a few superficial words, but something unidentifiable in the attitude of that man had distinctively fascinated her.”
” For a second, everything around her was turning: the dancer, the tables, the walls. What chaotic emotion the simple presence of that man aroused in her. He was looking at Coral, too, with a brooding but slightly dazes expression. Clearly he hadn’t expected to see her there tonight.”
“What can one dream of in front of the ocean? Of a departure or an arrival?”
“Warmth flooded her as his strong palms slid up to her shoulders, and she opened her eyes. She felt slightly dizzy, his mouth was so dangerously close, and she arched toward him a bit, instinctively wanting to increase their contact. This is madness, warned a distant part of her mind, but her body began to respond of its own accord.”
” ‘Coral…Coral, I’m not who you think I am,’ he murmured. His words seemed to sober her up, to draw her back to reality. Who was he then? Why was she not running from him as fast as she could?”
“This time he took her arm in a swift movement, and in doing so, the back of his hand pressed against the curve of her breast. Startled, they looked at one another, brown velvet gazing into deep blue. For an instant, they were the only two people in the world. But this was neither the time nor the place for such displays, even though her heart raced–or was it his she could feel pounding so loudly? “
“I sensed it before I even met you, when I looked into your photographs, and you became real to me. But then I hadn’t yet acknowledged the extent of the miracle…”
“Now. Love me now, Rafe…”