Lead Review

  • Book: The Baobab Beach Retreat
  • Location: Cheltenham, Tanzania, Zanzibar
  • Author: Kate Frost

Review Author: tripfiction



I had put this novel to one side to take on an upcoming trip to Tanzania – practising what we preach and all that – and it turned out to be a quite delightful and well put together book. As I read through the novel there were such strong parallels with my own trip. The tides sweep the Indian Ocean away every 12 hours, the pumpkin soup is indeed ubiquitous and the prevalence of honeymooning couples is notable! It is the place to come for a really varied trip from a variety of safari experiences to exotic beaches with fine sand… and the odd VERY old baobab tree!

So, what’s the story about? Connie has just broken up with her husband Felix after he has misbehaved and he really couldn’t have been more crass about his actions. They were also trying to have a baby which would in theory have been the crowning glory of their relationship. It was not to be.

Connie heads out to stay with her Aunt Bella who runs not only a beach resort at fictional Mchanga but also a lodging in Stone Town on Zanzibar and is in the process of rebuilding The Baobab Beach Retreat on the coast, again on Zanzibar. There is also a side trip to the Selous Game Reserve which is smaller and less crowded than some of the more famous ones dotted around the country.

Not only is Connie recovering from a disastrous relationship but Bella too has had a tricky time with her husband Geoff. Geoff is the brains behind some of their joint ventures and the two manage to have a decent working relationship. Geoff’s illegitimate son Jamil (keep up!) is also part of the working group, and he has always taken a shine to Connie.

Theo is the new manager at Mchanga, a rather handsome man who naturally catches Connie’s eye. Jamil (Geoff’s son) is clearly smitten too, although he is quite a lothario. With loss and a fair few ill-judged decisions under her belt, can Connie find lasting happiness?

I enjoyed this book for all kinds of reasons and it is just as good as other romance novels I have read that grace the booksellers’ tables. For me, however, the cover is really unprepossessing – it is sand-coloured and therefore reflects the kind of setting but the genre just doesn’t come across. The yellow ochre colour is on the dull side and just didn’t entice me to pick up the book, yet the content is definitely worth reading – especially if you are heading to Tanzania!

The novel it will make you question your day to day life and buy into the idea that running a beach resort, in a beautiful, exotic location might just be possible….

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