I’ve read romance novels since I was old enough. I used to steal my mom’s stash of weekly stories from reader’s digest, so old, I don’t think they publish them anymore. Then it was the high school romance books; from Sweet Valley High series, Mills & Boon, Harlequin Romance, graduating to authors such as Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Johanna Lindsay, Christine Feehan and others. My bookshelf tells a story of a love for romance that grows with time. So much so, that I have delved into writing myself, wanting to create heroes and heroines that will resonate with the people around me.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, it’s been tough to find any books set in my city, with characters living the life I’ve known, going through experiences in a setting I understand. My city is full of culture: a culture that gives so much color to life, I’ve always thought that romance stories written with characters in my region would be exciting to read. Last year, I ran across a blog post / call for submissions by Storymoja. It was a query for stories set in East Africa, romance stories meant to meet the same genre found in my favorite Mills & Boon, or a Harlequin Romance. I was excited and thrilled, so much so, I submitted my own story to them late December. (Here’s my hope that I’ll get a response from them. ^_^) Lol. My hope aside, Storymoja has released an exciting series of stories called Drumbeats.
I have gotten the chance to read a few of them. I have to say, I’m so privileged to share Romance stories written by East Africans for East Africans. Here are some of the titles that are now available as E-books on Amazon.
Best Laid Plans
by Vaishnavi Ram Mohan
Roshni thought she had her life in perfect control. Everything was as she’d planned it, including her engagement to long-time friend Shiv. But a series of unplanned encounters in the unpredictable Nairobi traffic with Nyagah changed everything. Nyagah was the opposite of everything Roshni thought she’d want in a man. So why did he make her heart race? Why did she look forward to their meetings more than anything? What was it about him that made her defy all her rules? And why was she toying with the idea of breaking off her engagement to the perfect-match, family-approved Indian man and hooking up with a Kenyan man whom she knew only from a few traffic-jam meetings? This is an urban love story set in contemporary Nairobi.
Available on Amazon, Get it Now!
This story quickly became my favorite. First it’s set in Nairobi, second, a culture crash was in the offing, lots of stereotypes to get through for Roshni and Nyagah. Roshni is so orderly, and straight-laced, her relationship with Nyagah starts off to a smashing start, I couldn’t stop reading it.
HEAVEN ON EARTH
By Hilda Gathanga
Caroline was finally getting her life on the right track. She had a thriving tours business, great family and friends and was happily single. In fact, men were the last thing on her agenda. Until handsome Andrew walked into her office, and the unthinkable happened: she fell in love with one of her clients! But can Caroline risk everything she has worked for and give into the charms of Andrew? Can she put her trust in his promises of heaven on earth? And does she dare entrust her heart to a man once again, especially one who has a very odd philosophy about dating and relationships?
Available on Amazon Get it Now!
This story is also set in Nairobi. I loved the progress of budding love, those first moments you’re so shy and unsure, to the end where decisions have to be made as the relationship strengthens and becomes something the heroine can’t live without. Beautiful story.
By Vaishnavi Ram Mohan
Alisha Oketch’s worst nightmares come true when circumstances force her to move in with Alexander Bonaparte Obanda. She’s fun-loving, wild and carefree. Alexander Bonaparte, her dictatorial flatmate, is prim and proper, super-organised and in Alisha’s opinion, super-annoying. Arguments and fights follow as their polar-opposite personalities collide. Yet, somewhere amidst the squabbling, a romance begins to blossom between the two. So, can two strangers stuck together really find love with each other? This is a humorous romance set in a Nairobi college campus.
This one is on my To Read List…very promising, and I like the way Ms. Mohan writes.
Available on Amazon Get it Now
CRANES CREST AT SUNSET
By Dilman Dila
Kabita, a beautiful Nepali doctor escapes from an arranged marriage to serve in a remote village in rural Uganda. In this village, she hopes to put to rest the haunting memories of her forbidden love and shattered past. But the peace she so desperately seeks seems elusive now, as she finds herself falling in love with Steven, a handsome African herdsman. Is she foolish to reject the advances of a fellow doctor for an idle herdsman painter? And is Steven really what he seems to be? Should she follow her heart or mind? Will Kabita finally find joy or will her dreams be shattered again? This is an intense love story set in rural Uganda.
Available on Amazon, Get it Now!
I love the poetry in this story, from the first line to the end, there is love for the village in the author’s words, so much so, it shines in Kabita’s every description. It was easy to get lost in this one too.
So, the books above are a small taste of Nairobi, and a setting in rural Uganda, written with such poetic words, it was easy to fall in love. I can’t wait to see what other titles Drumbeats produce. Great Job, Storymoja Editors!
What are you reading?