Love at Dawn, my second novel has recently been given another “thumbs-up” by African goddess Online. I’m excited, as I should be because it is a good way for a writer (like me) to start off the new year. Below is the review in full 🙂
Growing up, I remember reading romance novels written by Western authors like Danielle Steele, Elizabeth Lowell and Amanda Quick. There were also the Mills and Boon and Harlequin Romance novels that largely shaped my young romantic mind. I fell in love with the fantasies these books provided, and so did many women of my generation who grew up on these same novels. In our minds, as young black girls growing up on a continent where the men looked nothing like the men we read about in these novels, many of us still fantasized about a man with rippled muscles and white skin. Sometimes, there were visions of white castles and white horses too. If we learned anything from these books, it was that romance was to be found with white men and not with our own. It is no wonder that many of these girls, who themselves grew up to be romance novel writers, are writing what they themselves missed out on – romance stories with black African characters. It is such a fresh perspective that could have come a little sooner for most of us.
In Love at Dawn, Lara Daniels is sensual and captivating. There is not a single dull moment. Just when you think you have her figured out, she turns it up on you. The pages flip very easily and each plot has been designed to keep the reader wondering what happens next. I can only hope that Ms. Daniels seriously considers having her books translated into film.
Love at Dawn is a tale of love, power, danger and friendship that tests the bounds of the African romantic experience and questions the authenticity of its characters. For staunch African literary readers without an imagination outside the confines of the typical African experience, this might not go over well with them. Tory Da-Silva is a spoiled, rich teenage girl with a crush on Rashad Macaulay, a man who is also her oldest brother’s best friend and the Da-Silva Corporation’s attorney. Rashad is as brusque and rude as they come, and yet Tory sees something in him that keeps drawing her closer to him even as he tries harder to distance himself from her. Rashad believes he is protecting Tory from potential hurt. Tory sees no reason why they cannot act on their attraction to each other. Between the two of them, they share a love-hate relationship that gets tiring and frustrating at times.
Rashad’s reasons for wanting to distance himself from Tory often times seem valid. She is young and innocent, and she could potentially get hurt if her heart got too involved with a man who had not so much to give in return. If only she knew that she and Rashad were of a different breed, maybe she would understand him. Or would she? The Da-Silvas are one of the wealthiest families in the African nation of Zamzuda. The Macaulay family is the complete opposite. Rashad’s father was a thief and a liar, his mother a prostitute. In a country where the rich and poor don’t mix, Tory’s crush on Rashad would seem forbidden, except that Rashad has done well for himself and hidden his past deep inside him – a past that threatens to destroy him and the one he loves. But, Rashad is not the only one hiding a past!
When Tory’s brother Tony gets married, strange things begin to happen. First, Tory meets a young self-righteous missionary at the wedding and suspects nothing of him besides the fact that he thinks he has been called by God to judge the unrighteous. She would soon find out that he had an agenda that was more insane than she could ever have imagined. Then, Tory is almost run off the road by a crazed driver intent on killing her. She escapes unharmed only for Rashad to find a note in her bedroom and a dead carcass on her bed – he hides this from her. All these events lead up to one thing – Tory’s life is in danger, and she needs someone to protect her. The problem is there is no one better suited to do that than Rashad Macaulay whether he wants to or not.
Love at Dawn is Lara Daniels’ second novel. With a story line that is so dramatic and powerful, Love at Dawn is a page-turner and that’s not to be disputed. Lara Daniels is obviously a writer with an imagination that wows. Her narrative skill is flawless. With little tweaks to her prose, she could very easily become the Danielle Steele of African suspense/romance writing. For, hers are not simple tales of love. With Lara Daniels, you get a suspense thriller and romance novel all wrapped up in one spectacular read!