Reviewed by Iris Veldhuizen
Borderlines is a story about British lawyer Paula Shackleton, who is trying to deal with grief while at the same time working on a border arbitration case regarding the African state of North Darrar. Her part in this is to help her boss Winston Peabody with the hearings in The Hague. This is a very short synopsis of what the story is about, because telling you more would give away spoilers.
To be honest, I haven’t read many books about Africa, let alone dealing with international law cases, which made me go into this book without any knowledge or expectations.
The story gripped me immediately, because in the beginning it is very unclear about where the story is headed and what to expect from the main character. You know from the beginning of the story that there is something troubling Paula from her past, but certain questions were answered when reading the endings of each chapter, which contain fragments of Paula’s past. This is something I really liked about this book, because it keeps you curious about Paula’s motives and behavior in the present.
There is another reason why these fragments are very important for the story. The case Paula and Winston are working on contains a lot of digging in the past for tiny details that can help or even save them in court. Thus history is a theme that comes back in different elements in the story. It is important for both the reader and the characters in the book to understand the past and how it can influence them in the present. It shows you that when you miss certain details about the past, it can make a huge difference in the future. This was very subtly done, which has again a big impact on both the characters as well as the reader, which I really liked.
All in all, I think this is a brilliant book and I could tell you more about it, but then I’d spoil the elements of surprise hidden in the story. I think everyone should give this a go, with or without knowledge about the subject, because it teaches you a lot about human nature and how history is more important than we think.
An e-book is available.
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Visit Iris’s blog, Tea with Darcy, for more of her book reviews.