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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Crossing the Heart of Africa

I slid Julian Smith’s book onto the shelf, just to the right of Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World. I had finished it, Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure, and stood before my bookshelf contemplating the story. It wasn’t what I had expected and thus I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of the story.
Crossing the Heart of Africa is Julian Smith’s tale about how he crossed Africa from south to north, following in the footsteps of Englishman Ewart Grogan. Grogan was out to prove himself to the stepfather of a woman, Gertrude, with whom he had fallen madly in love – virtually love at first site. Smith was out to prove himself worthy, too, but not to his fiance or her her father – more to himself.
From the start, Julian Smith’s Crossing the Heart of Africa was a conversationally written account with a lot adventure, humor, and, most definitely, love. It was truthfully not the story I had anticipated when I saw it on the shelf. And in the end I agreed it was a particularly engaging and enjoyable story.
I found very little fault with Crossing the Heart of Africa; at times I felt Smith spent an overabundance of time detailing Grogan’s story, but the background was many times just as interesting as his own parallel story. And any disinterest I initially held about another Africa story was quickly dismissed through Smith’s excellent storytelling skills.
I had purchased Crossing the Heart of Africa by Julian Smith on a whim, putting it back on the shelf at the store several times before grabbing it on my way to checkout. I had seen enough other travel books and articles about Africa recently and wasn’t terribly interested in one more. Yet, for a reason I can’t quite explain, it sat atop my stack at the register. And in the end, I’m glad I purchased Smith’s book and would highly recommend it to any reader, particularly the adventureous and hopeless romantic.

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