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Reviewed by Barbara Harper for Readers' Favorite
Welcome to Kamini by Don Engebretson is a depiction of finding a ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.’ Russell Dean is successful, wealthy, and the co-owner of Samuels Dean Advertising. He wears immaculate expensive suits, has a shiny, expensive watch, drives a BMW, lives in a mansion, and has an enormous ego, coupled with a sense of entitlement. His world is turned upside down when his wife moves out and files for divorce. Russell makes the decision to go on a two-week sabbatical, choosing Kamini, as the firm had done an ad campaign for the breathtaking Kamini Lodge. It offers guests an opportunity to play tennis, go fishing, make use of the spa, play golf on the golf course and indulge in gourmet dining. What he does not know is that fate or destiny is about to bring him to his knees, literally and metaphorically. Intrigued? Then follow Russell and company on his adventure to Kamini, a utopia to some, a slice of paradise to others; you decide. But be warned if you disrupt the balance of nature and are disrespectful to its citizens; they will judge you, find you wanting, and add insult to injury by putting on a bizarre and comical show before evicting you permanently.
Don Engebretson's writing transported me to Kamini, an idyllic location, with a community of diverse, intelligent, humble, authentic, fun-loving characters in tune with and respectful of their environment. I was able to imagine the rugged landscape, traveling by boat down the river, inhaling the fresh clean smell of the air, a gentle breeze rustling through the forest, scented with pine, spruce, and fir trees. I could relate to Russell Dean’s new experiences as he sheds his old skin and wholly embraces the newness of Kamini and its laid-back and sociable inhabitants. His new friend is a descendent of the indigenous peoples of Canada known as the First Nations. Russell is provided with insights as well as a brief history about the Indian Act of 1876, which made attendance at day schools, industrial schools, or residential schools compulsory for First Nations children. The voice of a member of a First Nations tribe is used to convey the consequences of the Act with sensitivity, dignity, and honesty, as it not only led to the deaths of thousands of children but also to fractured and displaced generations, living on a reservation, with an eighty percent unemployment rate. The author places a positive spin on what is a tragic situation, using Russell as an instrumental part of that change and healing process. Those fans who enjoy the social issues genre will thoroughly enjoy this book.