African Skies
by Karen Rispin, contemporary (2000)
Palisades, $6.99, ISBN 1-57673-626-1

What a beautiful cover. Take a look and tell me if it doesn't just grab you:

African Skies by Karen Rispin

That and the back cover seduces me into believing that I will be reading the new Out Of Africa. African Skies tells of Laurel Binet coming to Kenya to study wild life and be a good conservationist. Alas, there's rugged, sexy, and religiously disillusioned Darren Grant to distract her. What is a proper lady to do?

The trouble with inspirational romances is that they can be... well, shall I say, passionless? The few I've read either are very good (they deal with emotions), or like African Skies, they use pretty scenery to fill the pages in lieu of heavy, throbbing passions. AS is a beautiful travelogue like its cover.

I mean, wow. How I sigh as Laurel and Grant fly over the steppes and plains! How I marvel with Laurel at the bustle of the Nairobian marketplace. The lions! The adventure! Say, how much does it cost for me to enjoy a week's stay at the Serengeti again?

And of course, how can I fault Laurel and Grant? Two nice people who become such wonderful friends. No chemistry, no attraction, and no, we don't do hormones here! (We're inspirational, not Bertrice Small.) I'm sure these two will do nicely in their marriage - I mean, look at them. "You are an amazing woman, Laurel. Okay then, we fly," Grant said, and I have to admit my breath caught in my chest... until I realize he meant that literally.

African Skies is such a leisurely, breezy vicarious journey through the skies and plains of Kenya. It's a wonderful trip. But I do end up feeling a bit guilty though for wishing that our two perfect people, untouched by gutter sins of the flesh, to actually push their hands down each other's pants, or something. Anything to break the monotonous road trip of perfect weather, perfect faith, perfect people, and perfect endings.

I am such a dirty old woman. How sad, how sad.

Rating: 82

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