Dian’s Ghost by Justine Saracen

Dian’s Ghost is a captivating tale that takes place in the heart of the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. Everything about this book is unique. I must say I have never read anything quite like it. This book is very well done, and amazingly well written. It will make you ask yourself the question would you kill a human to save an animal?
This book is centered around the story of Dian Fossey and her efforts of gorilla conservation. Personally, until reading this book I only knew bits and pieces of Fossey’s story, and mostly it came from snippets of the Sigourney Weaver movie adaptation. Dian’s Ghost will weave you into Fossey’s legacy while introducing you to fictional characters, Dana Norland and Dr. Kristen Wolfe.

We first meet Dana as she has just murdered two men in a basement in New York City. Whoa nelly! She has her reasons, I assure you, but you have to read it to find out why. Dana on the lamb from NYPD runs into Dr. Wolfe giving a presentation at Columbia University. Kristen is trying to get students to volunteer/work for the Karisoke Institute. What better place to escape the police than Africa?

While this book is a romance, it is so much more than than just a love story of two women. This book beautifully describes the harshness of Rwanda, and the struggles the people as well as the gorillas endured. Dian’s Ghost is set in the early 1990s and Rwanda is on the precipice of a civil war and in turn a mass human genocide. The lives of of so many were lost during that time, and you will be thrown right into the center of chaos.

This book is devastatingly wonderful. It’s tragic but it is hopeful, and it has characters that are strong, intelligent and so kind. It makes us ponder hard questions, and see that there is a grey area in terms of moral rights and wrongs. So, don’t judge this book by it’s cover. The pages between it are so, so good.

4.5  out of 5 stars

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