The New Girl In Mombasa


She ran away to find freedom only to find herself trapped.

After the death of her fiance, Wanjiru separates herself from her young son and escapes the suffocation of her life in Nairobi, boards a bus to Mombasa. Waiting to host her is Barack, an engineer who is returning to Nairobi after many years in Mombasa, to escape the memories of his complex relationship with a Muslim woman who died tragically in his hands. In Barack’s Nyali penthouse, Wanjiru finds herself trapped by her affection for the razor-sharp, complex, egotistical man who is obsessed only with maintaining the tight social rigours of his Bohemian lifestyle, working hard by the day and partying hard by the night. His only dream in life is to leave Mombasa in his own physical or emotional ways to escape the anxiety of growing old. They begin to form an emotional bond that teeters on the edge of being called love, both of them knowing that if they ever choose to do so, it will break the idyll in which they're living. For Wanjiru, Mombasa means everything. Mombasa is a dream-come true and the future. Here she makes friends and starts to build a life she loves. When Wanjiru begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of becoming more than a housemate, Barack finds himself powerless as ever to resist her siren song.

She must win his heart at all costs to give herself and her son a future.

Wanjiru is in a severe battle of conscience against what she must do as a woman; her old life continues to follow her and she can’t shake off the sins of the past and it makes her ever more determined to carve a better future. After many of her attempts to get Barack's attention fail, she is forced to examine every interaction, and is confounded with the way in which her notions of her battle to win herself love become suddenly – irrevocably – stripped bare.

The New Girl In Mombasa is a portrait of two people running from a troubled past and moving towards an uncertain future. This is a refreshing book about love and friendship whose beauty lies in its subtlety, its emotional nuance. It's a book about Mombasa, Kenya’s famed coastal city of rich historical heritage and Swahili culture, glamorous, seductive, magical, always looped around by the sensuous, unrelenting rhythm of night clubs and beach parties.

Novel, 416 pages

KShs 2,000 Paperback