A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, by Nicholas Drayson

Set in modern-day Kenya, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa is a sweet novel, comparable to The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Mr. Malik, an avid birder, has been in love with a Scottish widow, Rose Mbikwa, for many years. He attends her Tuesday morning bird walks faithfully. But he does not have the courage to ask her out on a date. Finally, he decides to ask her to his country club's ball. Unfortunately, his childhood nemesis, Harry Khan, moves back. He, too, falls for Mrs. Mbikwa.

The competition to take Rose Mbikwa to the Hunt Club Ball takes the form of a bird identification contest around Kenya. Here, the reader is treated to wonderful descriptions of the surrounding wildlife. Myriad adventures ensue.

The writing in A Guide to the Birds of East Africa is a bit choppy. Still, its characters are endearing and the descriptions of small town life are quaint. If you enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, as well as Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Helen Simonson), you will find this book a quick and entertaining read.

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