Nothing, however, is as it seems and Lulu discovers that love doesn't always wear the face of the one you yearn to call beloved.
Lyrical and atmospheric, buoyed by touches of magical realism, this compelling spiritual story explores the sacrifices people make in the pursuit of their dreams. Lulu's quest, and that of Jamila and Zahra too, is to find the divine love that will fulfil their hopes and save their souls...if they can recognize the masks of those who seek to lead them astray.
|Kokebumi Forest, Naembia|
This is a novel about regaining faith in a Divine Being, in our God, and realizing that we carry Him inside ourselves – Grace knew that (“Our hearts are one and the same, dear,” she says to Zahra, “despite the unfortunate differences the world imposes.”) and eventually Zahra, and then Lulu learnt that lesson – Jamila, the most overtly “religious” of the women, didn’t learn it.
But as Zahra and Lulu learn, when we find a connection to God within our souls, then no matter how much we have been hurt, no matter how much we’ve been betrayed, we can choose to show compassion (agape, Divine Love) towards others and thus become instruments of Divine Peace, rather than make war all the time (greater war, like the one which killed Zahra’s son and grandson, or small wars like family feuds or fighting with a friend).
No matter how ordinary we are, no matter how impossible a task creating world peace seems, if we all look to God, if we all regain that knowledge that we seem to be losing that God exists in some form or other, we can make a difference in this world. Grace, Zahra and Lulu all made a difference by choosing to change the way they behaved, to rise above their sufferings and understand the other person’s point of view. Jamila could not, she stayed trapped in her perception of herself as a victim of others, and so she ended up betraying Lulu. The novel ends on a hopeful note, though, because through her example of being kind to the very woman who hurt her, Lulu gives Jamila a chance of redemption.
So like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." When we’re hurting or angry or betrayed, and we can still find the inner strength to tap into that Divine compassion (God’s Love) within our soul and so disarm our hostility towards the external differences we see in others, then we have made the dream of transcendental love, that Heavenly Peace which passes all understanding, a reality in this world we live in.