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Reviewed by Dr. Jordan Alexander for Readers' Favorite
The Geography of Belonging: A Love Story by Oriane Lee Johnston is one the best books I’ve read this year. It is a smart and conscious book, written by a woman aware of who she is, the natural world around us, and the socio-political realities that exist today. Johnston takes us on a journey into ourselves while also managing to connect across oceans with the people and places of Zimbabwe and Canada’s West Coast. This true story unveils the raw machinations of a woman of a certain age, complete with lived experiences that create unanticipated circumstances. The author never thought she would fall in love with a Shona horseman while on her first safari in Africa. Trying to balance who she is at home in Canada with her new home in Africa, the reader feels the pull emotionally, physically, and spiritually that repeated journeys between the two continents tattoo on the essence of her identity, belonging, and spiritual growth. She grapples out loud with the reader, questioning societal norms and equity, raising the consciousness of her inherited bias, and living her truth and passion through connections with people and sacred rituals.
The Geography of Belonging by Oriane Lee Johnston has it all. Apart from its powerfully written cultural and social importance, the book is a sublime travelogue with blissfully poetic natural descriptions. Almost as a matter of fact, the author comments on the beauty of a botanical reserve she is riding through in the Mavuradonha Mountains where much of the book is set. “As if the shiny peel of a giant Ambrosia apple, with its scarlet, yellow, russet and green, is spread over the landscape – a mantle of deep and glowing variegated colour.” This is a beautiful account of what it means to be human in a world full of social contradictions, climate challenges, and natural extinctions. Copies of The Geography of Belonging A Love Story by Oriane Lee Johnston are going under the Christmas tree for each of my women friends that ride horses, are eco-warriors of our precious planet, and appreciate a true soulful love story. Amazing.