Reviewed by Claudette Kulkarni-van Caubergh
When I began reading Wrapped Up in You by Carole Matthews, I was expecting a cross between Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. While the novel contains some elements of both these stories – more so of the latter than the first – I found it to be an original read, sensitively told and showing a great deal of insight into the dynamics of friendship and love.
The book tells the story of thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson, who – to make a lie she told her ex-boyfriend true – breaks away from her uneventful life with a spur-of-the-moment trip to Africa. There she meets the love of her life, Dominic Ole Nangon, who is – incidentally – a Maasai warrior. She asks him to move to England to live with her, which he does, and then the complications begin as her colleagues, friends and neighbors all react in their own, sometimes unexpected ways to her relationship.
The pacing of the story keeps time with the developments: the book starts off leisurely (a little too much so for my taste), then gains momentum as Janie falls in love with her Dominic and they face the challenges their relationship brings together.
In essence, it’s an old fashioned love story pitting the expectations of English society against the individuality of love, and the book does so with heart and humor. If you can work your way through the beginning, you’ll have a rewarding read indeed!
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