In the west African village of Lai, red-haired Gbessa is cursed at birth and exiled on suspicion of being a witch. Bitten by a viper and left for dead, she survives to discover a new life with a group of African American settlers in the colony of Monrovia.
Then Gbessa meets two extraordinary others; June Dey – a man of unusual strength, born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia – and Norman Aragon, the child of a white British coloniser and a Maroon slave from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, who can fade from sight at will.
Soon all three realise that they are cursed – or perhaps, uniquely gifted. Together they protect the weak and vulnerable, but only Gbessa can salvage the tense relationship between the settlers and the indigenous tribes.
In her transcendent debut, Wayétu Moore illuminates the tumultuous roots of Liberia, blending history and magical realism in a profound tale of resistance and humanity.
I love me some juicy fruits and my top favourites are avocados 🥑 & mangos 🥭 It’s quite fitting to the theme of this book where the majority took place in the forest.
How do I begin to type about She Would Be King, which was a wonder that unfolded as I read it?
Have you read this book? Was it a surprise to you? I think I let the book sit so long on my shelf I forgot all I had learnt about it, buried the words spoken in panels where Wayétu was a speaker and I was in attendance.
I am happy I forgot because finding out what the book held within is pages was completely captivating.
The writing style, the origin story of the main protagonist and the stories of the people we come across, was equally painful and beautiful to read as it’s a fictionalised historical story of how Liberia was birthed.
My heart was with Gbessa, Norman & June Dey from start to finish and when I read the last line, my heart became heavy because I had come to the end of a story I would have loved to go on reading.
I don’t like picking up books that deal with slavery because it’s so tragic and never fails to make me cry, but the strength of these characters filled me with something different and beautiful—I’ll end with read the book if you haven’t already.
Wayétu thanked me for reading but I am the one that is thankful because she wrote this wonderful book.