Charity

By Megan Thomas

I chatted with Madeline Dewhurst on my podcast, Babble – such a pleasure after reading Charity, which was whatever the Kindle equivalent of a “page turner” is.

Charity, the book, primarily tells two stories. One, of a young woman called Lauren who is working as a live-in carer for a racist old woman, Edith, in her palatial “people live like this in London?!” home. Two, of Charity, a young woman, imprisoned and tortured in a camp in British-occupied Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising – an atrocity of the empire which, after years of outright lying and the systematic destruction of evidence, was brought into the British news in recent times (and swiftly brushed aside, one might argue). The connection? Edith was there, in Kenya, the child of settlers and making her own mark on the cruel and violent system, even as a child.

Does anyone else find they learn so much more about history through fiction? While I have no doubt a big fat encyclopaedia would tell me more information than a work of historical fiction, for me, I absorb so much more from fiction. I knew so little of 1950’s Kenya, and while I wouldn’t dare claim I now know a lot, a fire has certainly been lit to learn more as a result of Madeline’s compassionate and complex storytelling.


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