Book Report - Eight Hundred Grapes and Love, Life, And Elephants: An African Love Story

The next two books I read for the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge marked off "A book with a number in the title" and "A book a friend recommended" with Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave and Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick.

First up, Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave.
Georgia Ford grew up on her family's Sonoma vineyard, but left it behind to forge her own path; becoming a lawyer in Los Angeles instead. A week before her wedding, Georgia finds out her fiancé's been keeping a secret that has her now questioning everything. She returns home, longing for the comfort of familiarity, but finds her parents and brothers have been keeping secrets too; and the home she has always counted on is on the brink of slipping away.

In general, I enjoyed Eight Hundred Grapes, but it's certainly nothing to write home about; more like a good beach read. It's formulaic and predictable, so doesn't require much effort on the part of the reader. I knew how the novel was going to end pretty much the moment I started reading it. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. Sometimes you need a mindless novel to help you decompress after a long day. So, if that's what you're looking for, then give Eight Hundred Grapes a go.

Next up, Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick.
Daphne Sheldrick came to Kenya from England as a child and grew up calling Africa home. Later, she meets and married David Sheldrick, warden of Tsavo Park, and together the two of them work tirelessly to protect and save the local wildlife - especially the elephants who are in constant danger from poachers. Told in her own words, Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story is a poignant memoir about love in all its many forms. 

Oh my, this book was such a joy. Daphne Sheldrick lived an amazing life and it was such a fascinating read. She recognized the animals that came in and out of her care over the years as living souls, and her ability to humanize them for the reader made for such an interesting cast of characters. What really struck me though, was the beautiful love story told of her and David. Her words were honest and real and really resonated with me. As much as they loved each other though, I think they loved Africa and the animals there more. Their mutual passion for conservationism was so inspiring. I highly recommend reading this book.

Also, please considering donating to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It's such a great organization that helps so many animals in need. We need more people like the Sheldricks in this world. 

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