The Plot: ‘Love at Dawn’ is the second in a series of romance novels written by Lara Daniels. It tells the story of two people from very different backgrounds – the rich, spoiled, baby of the family – Tory Da-Silva and Rashad Macaulay, an emotionally insecure man who has come from a tough background and tried to work his way to the top. The two of them are intertwined with a host of other interesting characters and a dangerous stalker, who is intent on destroying Tory because of a dark secret she has never told anyone. The story is set in a fictional beautiful African city of Laketown in eastern Zamzudan. The city of Laketown is nestled among beautiful hills and caves. This setting is where Tory grew up, among her family of warm, caring people who doted on her. Rashad on the other hand, grew up in the village with his grandmother until he was nine, and then moved to a ghetto surburb called Gutterpark where he grew up among thugs and prostitutes until he managed to escape thanks to a scholarship.
Lara Daniels has woven a compelling story of love against all odds. From Tory and Rashad’s unconventional first meeting many years ago, to their complex present lives, and the way their relationship develops, she takes you through an emotional rollercoaster. There is a tight mix of suspense and intrigue to keep you fascinated and hoping against hope that the characters scale through all the roadblocks on their path to happiness.
As a character, Tory comes across as a likeable, carefree young girl, but when she meets Rashad, her older brother’s friend, he turns her world upside down and she becomes obsessed with him. Rashad, on the other hand, does not see himself as worthy of her and he does everything he can to resist her advances. He has a deep-rooted hatred of himself, and this is one of the main stumbling blocks in their relationship. The other thing is his close friendship with Tony Da Silva – Tory’s overprotective older brother. Rashad knew that there was no way Tony would approve of a relationship between him and his baby sister.
I enjoyed reading the book and I kept rooting for the characters till the very end. Lara’s writing is simple and it flows smoothly and this helps the story unfold without interruptions. The plot is full of twists and surprises that kept me on my toes, especially towards the end when a maniac serial killer comes on to the scene and Tory is suspected to be his next target. I hoped and prayed that the dark secrets the two main characters had been keeping for so long would be unlocked and all sins forgiven. I desperately wanted to get to “happily-ever-after” at the end and heave a sigh of relief.
I have very little criticism of the book – except maybe I wanted the story to go on for longer! I was a little concerned about the age gap between the two protagonists and Tory’s age when she started falling for Rashad, but that may just be my personal prejudice. All in all, ‘Love at Dawn’ is a great book, and I will recommend it to everyone who enjoys reading a fresh take on modern African romance.
Rating: 4 out of 5