in the shadow of 10,000 hills cover

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In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills
384 pages; Central Avenue
Haupt's debut novel, informed by her experiences as a journalist in Rwanda, is more than a page-turning narrative; it's an embrace of the Kinyarwanda greeting amahoro—"peace." The story opens in 2000 with an American woman, Rachel Shepherd, who is determined to find her long-lost father after the stillbirth of her child. The search leads her to the home of her dad's second wife, Lillian, a black American civil rights activist, now caring for orphans in Mubaro, Rwanda, as the country tries to heal from genocide. Her father has vanished again, but Rachel soon becomes enmeshed in the family Lillian has created and the daily perils of a community striving for reconciliation yet still simmering with violence, loss and fear. Everyday actions—a former child soldier "dithering over a chocolate croissant or a cinnamon beignet"—are shadowed by a constant awareness of recent horror. As one woman says, "How can we start over?" In time, the explosive secret of Rachel's father is revealed—as is much wisdom about the ways we strive to move forward and, however imperfectly, find peace.
— Dawn Raffel