The Atlas of Forgotten Places
With the empathy of Little Bee and the political intrigue of Blood Diamond, a gripping story of two women from different worlds who become inextricably bound in a quest to save their loved ones.The Atlas of Forgotten Places is that rare novel that delivers an exquisite portrait of family and love within a breathlessly, thrilling narrative.After a long career as an aid worker, Sabine Hardt has retreated to her native Germany for a quieter life. But when her American niece Lily disappears while volunteering in Uganda, Sabine must return to places and memories she once thought buried in order to find her. In Uganda, Rose Akulu—haunted by a troubled past with the Lord’s Resistance Army—becomes distressed when her lover Ocen vanishes without a trace. Side by side, Sabine and Rose must unravel the tangled threads that tie Lily and Ocen’s lives together—ultimately discovering that the truth of their loved ones’ disappearance is inescapably entwined to the secrets the two women carry.Masterfully plotted and vividly rendered by a fresh new voice in fiction, The Atlas of Forgotten Places delves deep into the heart of compassion and redemption through a journey that spans geographies and generations to lay bare the stories that connect us all.

The Atlas of Forgotten Places Details

TitleThe Atlas of Forgotten Places
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherThomas Dunne Books
ISBN1250122937
ISBN-139781250122933
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Cultural, Africa, Historical, Literary Fiction

The Atlas of Forgotten Places Review

  • Julie Christine
    April 22, 2017
    There aren't enough stars to express how much I loved this book. Extraordinary. Review to come.
  • Marialyce
    May 16, 2017
    3.5 starsHave read this through the courtesy of NetGallery This tale of oppression, grief, and loss has as its background the war that took place in northern Uganda. The fictional part of this novel portrays the loss felt by an aunt, a step father, and a young woman who had previously been captured by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. This was has been going on since the 1980's.The women of this story come from two vastly different environments. Sabine, a former aid worker living in Ge 3.5 starsHave read this through the courtesy of NetGallery This tale of oppression, grief, and loss has as its background the war that took place in northern Uganda. The fictional part of this novel portrays the loss felt by an aunt, a step father, and a young woman who had previously been captured by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. This was has been going on since the 1980's.The women of this story come from two vastly different environments. Sabine, a former aid worker living in Germany, is forced to return to both the country of Uganda, and the bad memories, as she takes it upon herself to search for her missing niece Lily. Rose, the former member of the LRA, who escaped their brutality while being a part of this LRA, finds herself thrown back into the fray because the man she loves Ocen is missing. The two women link together because of loved ones missing and this link becomes the gist of the story. How these women with the help of some others eventually find their loved ones, and the resulting trauma they suffer provides a tale that is so telling of the strife many have experienced in various nations in Africa. It also is a tale of how many people can turn their lives into something where they forget where they came from as they get caught up in the battle for what they believe is a just cause, and ultimately lose themselves to the dark nature that man often shows. The author relates in fine detail the experiences that Rose has both been a part of and witness to during her years with the LRA. Rose's life as well as those who were forced through being kidnapped from family, is a life of killing, of living a nomadic lifestyle, of suffering brutality and becoming immune to it. Families torn apart because of war is always a tale of sadness and one that seems to be told too many times in the lives of all those who have been lost in conflicts across this planet. The author was able to capture the look and feel of Africa so well. She was also able to make us feel that sense of loss that her characters felt.
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  • Kathleen
    April 30, 2017
    This absolutely captivating story is at once a suspense-filled search for a missing girl, a heartbreaking tale about life as overshadowed by the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army, and a meditation on finding the courage to do the right thing, even when that means putting your own self in danger. Told through dual perspectives -- that of a German woman who returns to East Africa, where she spent 18 years working, to search for her missing American niece; and that of a young Ugandan woman w This absolutely captivating story is at once a suspense-filled search for a missing girl, a heartbreaking tale about life as overshadowed by the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army, and a meditation on finding the courage to do the right thing, even when that means putting your own self in danger. Told through dual perspectives -- that of a German woman who returns to East Africa, where she spent 18 years working, to search for her missing American niece; and that of a young Ugandan woman whose close friend also vanished at the same time as the American -- this is a book you won't soon forget.
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  • Lisa Duffy
    May 24, 2017
    This suspenseful debut is impossible to put down. Interweaving the voices of Sabine, a former aid worker who returns to Uganda to search for her missing niece, and Rose, a young Ugandan woman with a painful past, Jenny D. Williams masterfully combines a thrilling mystery with brilliant character portrayal and stunning authoritative background detail. Powerful, vivid and emotionally complex, The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a must read.
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  • Devin Murphy
    May 27, 2017
    The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a relentless heart-punch of a book! I was pulled in by this stunning story from the start and switching back and forth between the two main characters, Sabine, an ex-aide worker, and Rose, a Ugandan woman made this hard to put down. Both women are complex, mysterious, and fully rendered in such a way that I feel they will both haunt me for a long time. They become guides to the menacing and lovely country of Uganda which is brilliantly portrayed in these pages, b The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a relentless heart-punch of a book! I was pulled in by this stunning story from the start and switching back and forth between the two main characters, Sabine, an ex-aide worker, and Rose, a Ugandan woman made this hard to put down. Both women are complex, mysterious, and fully rendered in such a way that I feel they will both haunt me for a long time. They become guides to the menacing and lovely country of Uganda which is brilliantly portrayed in these pages, but also a place where people disappear. The writing is wonderful, and with this first book Jenny Williams becomes a writer I will praise and eagerly await any new work from. I highly recommend this one.
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  • Kelly J. Ford
    May 28, 2017
    The Atlas of Forgotten Places hooked me from start to finish. Williams is such a beautiful, masterful writer at both the sentence and story level. I settled in and took this one slow so I could relish her rich prose and descriptions, which rendered Rose, Sabine, and Uganda fully alive. But there was nothing languid about the pace as these two women head out into dangerous territory in search of their loved ones, who have gone missing. My favorite books spark my curiosity and send me down the int The Atlas of Forgotten Places hooked me from start to finish. Williams is such a beautiful, masterful writer at both the sentence and story level. I settled in and took this one slow so I could relish her rich prose and descriptions, which rendered Rose, Sabine, and Uganda fully alive. But there was nothing languid about the pace as these two women head out into dangerous territory in search of their loved ones, who have gone missing. My favorite books spark my curiosity and send me down the internet rabbit hole to learn more when I've reached the end. That's certainly the case here. Easily one of the best books I've read this year.
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  • Elise Hooper
    April 16, 2017
    Stunning, heartrending, and hopeful, this triller plunged me into Uganda and the lives of Sabine, a former aid worker from Germany, and Rose, a Ugandan with a mysterious past. These two very different women develop a complicated partnership in their quest to find their missing loved ones. With beautiful prose and relentless pacing, Jenny D. Williams has created a story that has stuck with me long since finishing it.
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  • Mainlinebooker
    June 14, 2017
    Every once in a while, along comes a novel that won't leave you, that keeps you up at night contemplating important questions.Williams has constructed a novel that fits beautifully into this category. Based on real and imagined events set in the DNC and Uganda, this novel follows Sabine, a burned out aid worker who currently works in an animal shelter in Germany, Rose, a one armed Ugandan woman who was formerly abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, and Lily, a young girl doing volunteer work i Every once in a while, along comes a novel that won't leave you, that keeps you up at night contemplating important questions.Williams has constructed a novel that fits beautifully into this category. Based on real and imagined events set in the DNC and Uganda, this novel follows Sabine, a burned out aid worker who currently works in an animal shelter in Germany, Rose, a one armed Ugandan woman who was formerly abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, and Lily, a young girl doing volunteer work in Uganda, and Sabine's niece. When Lily does not return home as scheduled, Sabine races to Africa to see if she can find her, fearing the worst. What follows is a tromp through LRA battlegrounds, fighting through bureaucratic minefields with Rose and her boss.Both Rose and Sabine are looking for someone lost in their lives that they care deeply about. Williams has achingly sketched the principal characters with such a fine point pen, that they leap off the page, making us invested in their futures.There is so much to discuss and learn in this book that it is perfect for book groups. My only gripe is the open ended conclusion to the book, which left me angry as I needed more closure. However, it is a small price to pay for a book of such depth..
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  • Sandi Ward
    June 22, 2017
    This is a fascinating and engrossing novel about human compassion in the face of war and unrest. A German woman named Sabine returns to Africa after years away to try and locate her niece, who has disappeared while volunteering. She is joined in her search by Rose, a native Ugandan trying to find her partner Ocen, who they determine was helping Sabine’s niece. They are thwarted by political events; it's a story about rebellion, displaced persons, violence, kidnapping—ultimately, the horrors of w This is a fascinating and engrossing novel about human compassion in the face of war and unrest. A German woman named Sabine returns to Africa after years away to try and locate her niece, who has disappeared while volunteering. She is joined in her search by Rose, a native Ugandan trying to find her partner Ocen, who they determine was helping Sabine’s niece. They are thwarted by political events; it's a story about rebellion, displaced persons, violence, kidnapping—ultimately, the horrors of war and the way it upends and disrupts lives. My knowledge of Africa is limited to a few newspaper articles and stories from my brother-in-law, who was with the State Department in Kenya for a few years. But it isn’t necessary to know anything about Africa to jump right into this story. The writing is lovely and I was easily transported to different settings for which I have no reference point. The pacing is quick and the action very exciting as the characters find themselves deeper in danger as they hunt down their loved ones. The conflicts in Africa—the conflict in this story being one of many—are complex, but this book was able to illuminate for me the struggles of Uganda and make them feel personal. I highly recommend this very beautiful, thoughtful and well-written story.
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  • Literary Chic
    June 26, 2017
    A Goodreads Giveaway and a beautiful novel about redemption and atonement. Each storyline was tied up nicely. (I say this because a familial storyline seemed to be way off in left field until the last few chapters.) Apparently this book is getting kudos from NPR and other outlets. I think the accolades are well deserved. I probably wouldn't have picked it up without the giveaway, but I'll certainly be touting it to my fiction-loving friends.
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  • Sarah Menkedick
    April 22, 2017
    I could not put this book down. I work and am also the mother of a toddler, so I have very little time to read, and what time I do have is precious. The fact that I looked so forward to this book at the end of a long day is a testament to its beauty and also to the masterful, gripping plot at its heart. I felt so invested in the characters and also in the moral issues that drive the story–it is rare to read a novel that addresses these big, difficult, heartbreaking questions and this one does so I could not put this book down. I work and am also the mother of a toddler, so I have very little time to read, and what time I do have is precious. The fact that I looked so forward to this book at the end of a long day is a testament to its beauty and also to the masterful, gripping plot at its heart. I felt so invested in the characters and also in the moral issues that drive the story–it is rare to read a novel that addresses these big, difficult, heartbreaking questions and this one does so with such compassion and vivid insight. I've thought about it again and again in the past few days, when I read the news, making decisions in my own life. As a traveler, particularly, it struck me: what right do we have to attempt to "help" or "save" those in other countries? How connected can we be to those from vastly different backgrounds? What unites and separates us? This is a book that does not shy from such questions in a way that is never preachy, never simplified, but resonant and heart-wrenching.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    May 30, 2017
    Via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/Can you tell Aunt Sabine what you’re doing? Lily looks up defiantly, squinting. I’m giving food to hungry people, she says. And then I’m going to fly on an airplane and never come back.Sabine Hardt is retired from aid work, now living back home in Germany when she finds out her American niece Lily has disappeared in Uganda. When she doesn’t come home as scheduled, fear gnaws at her gut. Not content to sit around waiting for others to search, in Via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/Can you tell Aunt Sabine what you’re doing? Lily looks up defiantly, squinting. I’m giving food to hungry people, she says. And then I’m going to fly on an airplane and never come back.Sabine Hardt is retired from aid work, now living back home in Germany when she finds out her American niece Lily has disappeared in Uganda. When she doesn’t come home as scheduled, fear gnaws at her gut. Not content to sit around waiting for others to search, in a place where there is no funding for such interest in disappearances, Sabine must return to the very place that haunts her memories. Who better than Sabine to deal with the locals, to hunt down the information and places a veteran of such aid work like her self can navigate? Her life path will join Rose’s. Rose Akula lived through the horrors of the Lord’s Resistance Army, shunned by her own people upon her return, at turns frightened, jealous, hurt when her lover Ocen vanishes, both Rose and Sabine must unite to chase the trail of their loved ones. Is it possible they were both entangled in something dangerous? Could Ocen and Lily have meant something to each other? Rose is living with the disturbing memories of her time with the LRA, left wounded physically and mentally. Her story is by far the richest and most moving. Her longing for Ocen drives her to face dangerous forces again.This novel isn’t just about family bonds, it takes the idealism aid workers begin with and shows how it morphs, clashing with the reality of the country and it’s people. Just how do good people become just as hardened and blind to atrocities as the very natives they are there to ‘save’ and ‘help’. The victims too aren’t always welcomed back with love and compassion but met with suspicion and shamed. It’s easy to peer into other cultures and see what needs to be fixed, when you are distanced from the real horrors. It’s too easy also to walk into danger, focused so much on doing what you feel is just, and morally right. What captivated me most are the perspectives of each character, because it’s like separate worlds.It’s a story full of heart, courage and also harsh realities. I was engaged most by Rose’s story- taken as a young girl by the LRA and the grief that lives inside for everything that happened, that she returns to darkness and horror just to try and help Ocen. I am not sure we could all be so brave. Sabine’s memories, the things she learned about herself during her time as an aid worker is crushingly moving- facing the ugliness and apathy that she hadn’t realized she was capable of is one of the truest things I’ve read about the flip said of a charitable nature, because in the end we are human beings, flawed and weak.Publication Date: July 11, 2017St. Martin’s PressThomas Dunne Books
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  • Adriana Arrington
    June 20, 2017
    An exceptional novel. Williams masterfully weaves a story that resonates on several different levels. At face value, the novel is about the quest that two women undertake to find their missing loved ones. At a deeper level, it's about how the best, but misplaced, intentions can lead to disaster. This theme carries throughout the novel at both a micro level (personal decisions) and macro level (modern-day Western policy in Africa).I'll think about this novel for awhile. Williams doesn't leave the An exceptional novel. Williams masterfully weaves a story that resonates on several different levels. At face value, the novel is about the quest that two women undertake to find their missing loved ones. At a deeper level, it's about how the best, but misplaced, intentions can lead to disaster. This theme carries throughout the novel at both a micro level (personal decisions) and macro level (modern-day Western policy in Africa).I'll think about this novel for awhile. Williams doesn't leave the reader with any easy answers, but rather with thought-provoking questions. When we look to help others, what are our real motives? Could these motives and their ramifications prove to be more detrimental than the original problem?I loved this novel. The story itself is engrossing, with vivid characterizations and settings. But the heart of the novel- its examination of burden/privilege - is what will stick with me for a long time.I highly recommend this novel.I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kate Brandes
    June 23, 2017
    Jenny Williams's debut novel, The Atlas of Forgotten Places, is a thrilling, complex read. She develops a deep sense of place and wonderful characters for the reader. Williams has written this vivid dual narrative, with keen emotional intelligence. This novel is not to be missed.
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  • Heather Jackson
    May 24, 2017
    The Atlas of Forgotten Places takes place in Uganda during the early 2000s. I knew very little about what had happened in Uganda and surrounding countries during this time and I was immediately drawn into this story and the lives of the two women that it followed. Sabine, a German woman searching for her missing niece and Rose, a Ugandan women searching for her lover were such real characters that pulled at your heartstrings. Their fears, anxieties and sufferings became so real during the book a The Atlas of Forgotten Places takes place in Uganda during the early 2000s. I knew very little about what had happened in Uganda and surrounding countries during this time and I was immediately drawn into this story and the lives of the two women that it followed. Sabine, a German woman searching for her missing niece and Rose, a Ugandan women searching for her lover were such real characters that pulled at your heartstrings. Their fears, anxieties and sufferings became so real during the book and I couldn't put it down. Jenny Williams did an excellent job explaining what was happening in Africa at that time while also diving deeply into the lives of these two women and the emotional development they went through during the book. My only critique of this book was the ending. Rather than bringing some closure to the story I felt that Jenny left the ending very open ended and primarily up to the reader's opinion of what happened next. This frustrated me momentarily at the end but I do think it didn't take away much from how well the rest of the book was done. Definitely a good book club pick, there are lots of different aspects that could be discussed.
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  • Sarah
    June 22, 2017
    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and my review below is my honest opinion.This was such a beautiful book! The language and well thought out and researched plot was truly captivating and made me think a lot about aid workers and how they themselves have to adapt and change along with the places they are helping. I knew nothing about Uganda before this book, but it was wonderful to see the planning in the story, so much so that I researched their culture a bit more on my own because this bo I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and my review below is my honest opinion.This was such a beautiful book! The language and well thought out and researched plot was truly captivating and made me think a lot about aid workers and how they themselves have to adapt and change along with the places they are helping. I knew nothing about Uganda before this book, but it was wonderful to see the planning in the story, so much so that I researched their culture a bit more on my own because this book made me want more. I don't usually pick up novels like this in the store, but I am very glad that it has expanded my reading horizon to be more open to other books.The only downside to this was that it hit my reading emotions like when I was reading "Gone Girl", even though I prefer Williams' writing style. I spend this time reading and adoring the story to get to an ending that just seems so abrupt and leaves with unanswered questions that could be easily answered and enjoyed in a couple more chapters. I don't always expect happy endings, but I would prefer a complete ending and I didn't feel like I got this here. It ruined the whole book for me a split second after frantically flipping through the last few pages to see if there was anything else. My extreme frustration lasted only a moment though and has now dulled to a small annoyance because this book is just so well written and the main story of these two women coming together is so beautiful that even the ending can not destroy that. I would highly recommend this book!
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  • Pat
    May 24, 2017
    ( won in Goodreads giveaway for an honest review).A haunting, beautifully rendered and ultimately very sad novel of a very sad event in two tragic lands, Uganda and the Congo. In brief, a young American aid worker disappears,along with her native driver, in Uganda and her aunt, a former aide worker who knows the country comes back from Germany to search for her. If you are at all familiar with the devastation that perpetual war and guerilla violence has done to the people of this region, there a ( won in Goodreads giveaway for an honest review).A haunting, beautifully rendered and ultimately very sad novel of a very sad event in two tragic lands, Uganda and the Congo. In brief, a young American aid worker disappears,along with her native driver, in Uganda and her aunt, a former aide worker who knows the country comes back from Germany to search for her. If you are at all familiar with the devastation that perpetual war and guerilla violence has done to the people of this region, there are few surprises here.What is here are some strongly developed characters, a well-plotted story and some attempt at putting all of this chaos into a redemptive vision of doing something, rather than doing nothing, in the face of overwhelming odds."...when you spend enough time living at the periphery of anarchy, your perspective begins to shift.Normal becomes whatever surrounds you.You recognize that all life is risk, danger is relative, and death arrives equally by the swiftest machete or the tiniest mosquito. When the place itself is peril, there's no use building walls- the menace is in the air your breathe, in the sunlight and rain that fall across your face when you turn it to the sky."This book put me in mind of "I Dreamed of Africa"...Africa is so vast, unusually beautiful and fraught with peril ...it gives much to those who live there but it demands much more in return.
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  • Annie
    June 14, 2017
    Atonement is one of the most difficult things for people to achieve, more so when the person trying to atone is the only one who can forgive. In The Atlas of Forgotten Places, by Jenny D. Williams, several of the main characters are seeking to atone for their own crimes or the crimes of their family members—and they’re trying to do so in the middle of an active war zone as the Ugandan army is routing out members of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The emotional and physical conflicts in this book mak Atonement is one of the most difficult things for people to achieve, more so when the person trying to atone is the only one who can forgive. In The Atlas of Forgotten Places, by Jenny D. Williams, several of the main characters are seeking to atone for their own crimes or the crimes of their family members—and they’re trying to do so in the middle of an active war zone as the Ugandan army is routing out members of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The emotional and physical conflicts in this book make for a nail-biting reading experience. Worse, it doesn’t follow the tropes of thrillers, so we don’t know until the very end if the protagonists live or not; there are no guarantees in The Atlas of Forgotten Places...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Karen Whittard
    May 10, 2017
    Thank you to Netgalley, St Martins Press and Jenny D Williams for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance reader copy of this book. You can find my review on both Goodreads and Amazon. On goodreads.com/karenwhittard and on Amazon under k.e.whittard from publication date. Captivating, suspenseful, heartbreaking about a search for a missing girl, and about courage to do the right thing in the face of danger. Told from the prospectus of a German wom Thank you to Netgalley, St Martins Press and Jenny D Williams for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance reader copy of this book. You can find my review on both Goodreads and Amazon. On goodreads.com/karenwhittard and on Amazon under k.e.whittard from publication date. Captivating, suspenseful, heartbreaking about a search for a missing girl, and about courage to do the right thing in the face of danger. Told from the prospectus of a German woman who spent 18 years searching for her missing niece and a Ugandan woman whose close friend vanishes at the same time. Side by side they need to work together. To discover the secrets of their loved ones disappearance. Masterfully plotted, and a wonderful debut. It is compassionate and spans the secrets of generations to discover the truth. As always let me know what you think and as always happy reading.
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  • Paula Ackley
    June 28, 2017
    The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a well written, well constructed narrative that keeps you engrossed to the very end. On the surface it's a story of two women looking for their loved ones that disappeared from a village in Uganda but it is so much more. Ms. Williams' characters come alive as does the civil war that most of us only know about from news reporting. The conflict between Uganda's people, the conflict between the beauty and ugliness of the country, as well as the conflict between comp The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a well written, well constructed narrative that keeps you engrossed to the very end. On the surface it's a story of two women looking for their loved ones that disappeared from a village in Uganda but it is so much more. Ms. Williams' characters come alive as does the civil war that most of us only know about from news reporting. The conflict between Uganda's people, the conflict between the beauty and ugliness of the country, as well as the conflict between compassion and redemption are vividly portrayed throughout the story. Ms. Williams' first hand knowledge of Uganda is evident throughout. The Atlas of Forgotten Places is hard to read at times, hard to put down at other times and hard to keep out of ones thoughts. Well done.
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  • Barbara Seelye
    May 31, 2017
    I didn't rush out to review the book immediately because, like a great movie, I had to let the emotions settle and run scenes, situations and dialog back through my mind. There are so many layers to this novel that continue to reveal themselves upon reflection. The interweaving of the stories of both the primary and secondary characters is spellbinding. The pacing of the book was perfect for me. I didn't feel rushed in getting their stories yet I couldn't put it down. I love books where I walk a I didn't rush out to review the book immediately because, like a great movie, I had to let the emotions settle and run scenes, situations and dialog back through my mind. There are so many layers to this novel that continue to reveal themselves upon reflection. The interweaving of the stories of both the primary and secondary characters is spellbinding. The pacing of the book was perfect for me. I didn't feel rushed in getting their stories yet I couldn't put it down. I love books where I walk away with a new understanding of a culture or historical event and this novel didn't disappoint. I highly recommend this novel to readers who love a compelling character study intertwined with mystery.
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  • Steelhart
    June 13, 2017
    I hesitated at first with this book as I wasn't sure the Africa story would interest me; I soon abandoned that thought. Uganda and the conflict there, the factions in the conflict, the ivory trade, child soldiers, etc. are critical to the underlying story and the author is able to use her personal experiences in Uganda in a very compelling, engaging narrative to frame the characters and their exploits. With that backdrop, the author then explores relationships, love, grief and grieving, and expl I hesitated at first with this book as I wasn't sure the Africa story would interest me; I soon abandoned that thought. Uganda and the conflict there, the factions in the conflict, the ivory trade, child soldiers, etc. are critical to the underlying story and the author is able to use her personal experiences in Uganda in a very compelling, engaging narrative to frame the characters and their exploits. With that backdrop, the author then explores relationships, love, grief and grieving, and explains in very real terms how living amidst war and conflict and lacking for basic human needs affects the lives of those immersed in the conflict.Ms. Williams explores the intricacies of human relationships; finding purpose in our life; being open to love and letting love go; and the many forms that humans (and animals) may grieve. The ability of this author to describe the human condition and emotions of the characters was powerful and captivating. The Atlas of Forgotten Places is multi-faceted and nuanced; definitely one of those books one could read over and over and always find new meaning and subtexts. Highly recommended!
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  • Debby Richmond
    May 23, 2017
    Every once in a great while you discover a book that not only delivers a gripping story but also informs you about history and current social/political problems. "The Atlas of Forgotten Places" engages readers on every level! The setting is Africa, and the novel is told from the perspective of two women – Sabine, a former Uganda aid worker, and Rose, abducted as a young girl by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Together, they search for their loved ones who have gone missing. Beautifully written, the Every once in a great while you discover a book that not only delivers a gripping story but also informs you about history and current social/political problems. "The Atlas of Forgotten Places" engages readers on every level! The setting is Africa, and the novel is told from the perspective of two women – Sabine, a former Uganda aid worker, and Rose, abducted as a young girl by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Together, they search for their loved ones who have gone missing. Beautifully written, the book is skillfully plotted and emotionally powerful…a genuine page-turner. And it sheds needed light on a part of the world and terrifying challenges we rarely encounter. Jenny Williams is a natural-born storyteller and I eagerly await her next book.
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  • Nori
    June 13, 2017
    I was enthralled with the characters and their stories from start to finish of Atlas of Forgotten Places.Knowing little about northern Uganda before I read the book, I have come away not only with important knowledge, but a new admiration and empathy for the people of war torn Africa. I was moved by the bravery of NGO's that help the people and the animals who suffer at the hands of the greedy. Learning about this part of the world and the people who live and serve there has opened a new world f I was enthralled with the characters and their stories from start to finish of Atlas of Forgotten Places.Knowing little about northern Uganda before I read the book, I have come away not only with important knowledge, but a new admiration and empathy for the people of war torn Africa. I was moved by the bravery of NGO's that help the people and the animals who suffer at the hands of the greedy. Learning about this part of the world and the people who live and serve there has opened a new world for me. The story was a page turner I couldn't put down...another plus for a wonderful first novel.
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  • W. Steding
    June 24, 2017
    First novel? Wow. Ms. Williams has given us an enthralling debut that virtually assures her of a throng of followers who will enjoy The Atlas of Forgotten Places and be wondering what she might write next. Atlas is a carefully layered and well-paced story that illustrates the evil intersection of brutality and apathy, which conspire to challenge our spirit of humanity. Anchored in conflict and love, Williams has succeeded in not only giving us a great read, but also a well-researched window into First novel? Wow. Ms. Williams has given us an enthralling debut that virtually assures her of a throng of followers who will enjoy The Atlas of Forgotten Places and be wondering what she might write next. Atlas is a carefully layered and well-paced story that illustrates the evil intersection of brutality and apathy, which conspire to challenge our spirit of humanity. Anchored in conflict and love, Williams has succeeded in not only giving us a great read, but also a well-researched window into the tragedy of Uganda and the futility confronted by liberal international institutions that attempt to mitigate the despair of those in the path of civil war.
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  • Ilene Harris
    June 16, 2017
    A wonderful relationship book! Sabine Hardt, an aid worker, wanting to spend an easier life, returns to her native Germany, but then gets a disturbing phone call from her brother-in -law. He tells her that her American niece Lily has disappeared while volunteering in Uganda. Sabine immediately goes there to find out what happens and meets Rose Akulu, who happens to be looking for her boyfriend, saying they disappeared at the same time. It's unbelievable what happens next, what an exciting book! A wonderful relationship book! Sabine Hardt, an aid worker, wanting to spend an easier life, returns to her native Germany, but then gets a disturbing phone call from her brother-in -law. He tells her that her American niece Lily has disappeared while volunteering in Uganda. Sabine immediately goes there to find out what happens and meets Rose Akulu, who happens to be looking for her boyfriend, saying they disappeared at the same time. It's unbelievable what happens next, what an exciting book! I loved it.
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  • 9 Minute
    June 5, 2017
    I was drawn to this book because of the authenticity of the writing, but it is also an intriguing and captivating mystery that keeps you turning pages. Jenny Williams writes fluently of places most Americans have never heard and is able to do so from an international perspective. The lives of NGO aid workers in areas of African conflict is a story that needs telling. Jenny was able to capture the internal conflict many workers experience and artfully weave that tale with one told from the Africa I was drawn to this book because of the authenticity of the writing, but it is also an intriguing and captivating mystery that keeps you turning pages. Jenny Williams writes fluently of places most Americans have never heard and is able to do so from an international perspective. The lives of NGO aid workers in areas of African conflict is a story that needs telling. Jenny was able to capture the internal conflict many workers experience and artfully weave that tale with one told from the African's perspective. It is a thought provoking novel with complex characters and exceptional insight.
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  • Lisa
    June 21, 2017
    This skillfully crafted first novel immerses the reader into the culture and political conflict of Uganda as part of a suspenseful fast paced mystery that keeps you guessing until the final pages. The author’s vivid imagery paints pictures that take you into the story and will remain with you even after you have finished. The characters are carefully developed allowing the reader to know them completely, even their most carefully guarded secrets. This expert combination causes the reader to make This skillfully crafted first novel immerses the reader into the culture and political conflict of Uganda as part of a suspenseful fast paced mystery that keeps you guessing until the final pages. The author’s vivid imagery paints pictures that take you into the story and will remain with you even after you have finished. The characters are carefully developed allowing the reader to know them completely, even their most carefully guarded secrets. This expert combination causes the reader to make an emotional investment that builds tension until the finish. A journey well worth taking.
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  • Pat
    June 22, 2017
    I read this book and loved it and then my husband picked it up and read it, too. The plot, the characters, the behind the scenes history and action, all were wonderful and kept us reading and turning the pages. It was hard to put it down and when we were done, we wanted more. Ms Williams has done an incredible job of writing her first novel and introducing us to Forgotten Places.
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  • Gail Kennedy
    June 1, 2017
    Uganda during the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion is the setting of this complex missing persons tale. Details of characters, connections, plot and motivation are revealed gradually as the story gains momentum. Dialog is believable and not used as a descriptive explanatory device. Jenny Williams was successful in showing time and place most of us know nothing about.
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