Review: 'Catching Lightning' by Katie Stephens (2015)
You never know where or when lightning will strike, but when it happens on a trip back to Kenya to bury your parents you know the timing isn’t great.
Mel has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she had come to hate, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kamuti for her parents’ funeral, forcing her to face her fear of flying and hatred for the place which has now stolen her parents from her for good. But meeting the people who meant so much to her parents and above all the gorgeous, England-educated Sam was not part of the plan.
Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she has had things wrong all these years.
Will taking the trip help her find her answers? Will visiting the most beautiful and memorable locations of the land make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?
When Mel discovers the ultimate painful secret about her past and loses her job as a teacher at a posh girls’ school, she has one final choice to make – as they say lightening only strikes once.
I have to admit I had not heard of author Katie Stephens before she contacted me with a review request for her novel 'Catching Lightning.' In 2011, her novel 'Candles on the Sand' was released and became a bestseller, and this book was followed by 'Catching Lightning' in 2014. The beautiful colours on the cover of the book immediately grabbed my attention and as some of you might know by now, I can never say no to the promise of a good romance story! So, last week I finally managed to sit down with 'Catching Lightning' while on the train on my way back home from work and hoped I would enjoy my first Katie Stephens novel!
Melinda Purcell works as a teacher at an all-girls school in England. While she has a job she loves, a nice apartment, and good friends, there are also things she misses in her life, such as her parents. She has never quite forgiven them for leaving her behind at boarding school in England when she was 12, while they went to Kenya to work for a charity organisation, where they've stayed ever since. Then, completely out of the blue, Melinda receives the news that her parents have passed away after a terrible car accident and before she knows it, she is on her way to Kenya to bury them. Stuck in a country she never wanted to visit but which her parents loved so much, Melinda not only has to find a way of dealing with her grief, but also with the many memories her parents' things bring back and the secrets they were hiding.
This book really managed to surprise me, mainly because it turned out to be so much more than I initially expected. I was quickly taken in by the storyline, the characters and the amazing setting. I've never been to Kenya and it's not a country I had read or heard much about, but thanks to this novel I've now had a sneak-peak at its beauty and what it has to offer. One of the many amazing things to love about reading is the fact that you get to travel to places you might not have picked yourself and make new discoveries along the way! However, this novel has much more going for it than just the setting, such as Katie Stephens' great and comfortable writing style which I personally really enjoyed.
The main protagonist, Mel, is quite a complex character who has been through a lot. I really felt for her and instantly warmed to her, just like I did to the rest of the wonderful cast of different characters, such as Essex girl Kerry, Sam, Mel's parents, and all the other people at the centre in Kenya. While this book is a romance, it is also about discovering who you really are and what it is you want in life. 'Catching Lightning' is a thoroughly enjoyable read with a captivating plotline, a great group of characters and a pretty amazing and unique settting. It's a beautifully written story about love, loss, and staying true to yourself; a stunning read!