Lights, Camera, Love by Bronwyn Desjardins (Nollybooks) is a short romance packing a lot of love, action and adventure. Thuli, a receptionist at a luxury lodge in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, is sucked into the world of movie-making when she becomes the temporary PA to a SA-born Hollywood director, Jake.
Thuli is a wonderfully drawn character – beautiful, proud, strong and yet vulnerable. Despite the differences in background with the hero, she stands her ground and more than proves herself as his equal. In fact, she is instrumental in saving Jake from the secrets that have kept him closed off from love. Jake is a stand-out character, so different from the cliches one normally finds in romance novels. The scenes where he struggles with his sense of identity and his tragic past are especially poignant.
The author’s descriptions of landscapes and customs are beautifully evocative – by engaging all our senses, we feel connected to both the natural splendour of Africa and life in a rural village, with its smells, rhythms, rituals and colour. These parts of the book really come alive with heartfelt authenticity.
Despite the wildly glamorous premise, the relationship between the hero and heroine is moved forward in a realistic, believable way – which will no doubt make young readers connect with them on an emotional level. There is great tenderness and vulnerability in their journey towards happy-ever-after.
This fast-paced romantic novel ends with a nail-biting suspense sequence that would not be out of place in a big-screen movie. With the new Nollybooks series, South African escapist fiction is off to a very good start