Review: Then She Was Born

Posted on April 25, 2017


Then She Was Born
By Cristiano Gentili
Translated by Lori Hetherington
January 2017
315 pages

Born in a small village in Tanzania, the newborn girl is albino. Unlike the rest of the dark-skinned villagers, her skin is white due to lack of melanin. Her father is horrified and blames her mother who cruelly rejects her. The infant is a zeru zeru, a phantom. She is not even considered a human being. As shocking as it is, many African village tribespeople still cling to superstitious customs in their belief that the birth of a zeru zeru is a curse. But if an albino is killed, then they believe the body parts bring good luck. For that grisly reason, the lives of thousands of African albinos are in constant danger from birth. Nkamba, the grandmother who is haunted by the birth and murder of her own albino daughter years ago, saves the baby girl’s life and raises her. She names her Adimu, which means “special” in Swahili. Charles Fielding, wealthy owner of the local mine, and his wife Sarah also develop a bond with Adimu, for decidedly different reasons. From the moment of her birth, readers are captivated by Adimu’s plight as well as her irresistible spirit. In this fictional portrayal of the horrors faced by African albinos, Gentili sets up a nail-biting race against the clock to save this beautiful child who is hunted like an animal. Then She Was Born is both gripping and gut-wrenching as barbaric tribal customs collide with contemporary ethos and pathos in this unorthodox thriller. A must read! ~ Copyright (c) 2017 by Peggy Tibbetts

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