War correspondent leaves Sierra Leone to cope with motherhood and fallout from a strange inheritance.
Like her debut author, 38-year-old Saffron (Saffy) Roch is a native Californian and graduate of the London School of Economics. She finds herself undergoing serious culture shock, not to mention sore nipples, at the Santa Monica Pump Station, a postpartum support group and training center for nursing mothers. Infant Halla is the daughter of strikingly handsome and shockingly underendowed Oscar, an overworked surgeon in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Disjointed flashbacks take us through Saffy’s experiences as a journalist covering the wartime strife among rebels, government forces, and British and UN peacekeepers, complete with stark descriptions of amputations and other atrocities. Disenchanted with Oscar, Saffy meets African Joseph Hanna, possibly a triple agent, whom the rebels branded by carving their RUF insignia onto his chest. After winning her love, he disappears. Saffron has her baby and moves back to L.A., where her adoptive mother has just died. The will disinherits 50ish hippie son Francis and leaves Saffy a Malibu beach compound worth $10 million, with the proviso that she never reunite with Oscar and either stay in Malibu or sell the property. At the Pump Station, the new heiress meets and, despite herself, befriends Anika, Sophia, Nancy and Alice, all except the last-named enjoying the perks of trophy wifehood. Ignoring Anika’s warnings and her own war-zone instincts, Saffy is lulled by Francis’s cheery adjustment to disinheritance. When she learns that Joseph has been imprisoned for treason, she decides to sell the estate and use the money to free him. Francis and his countercultural coterie concoct a nefarious scheme and enlist the help of her birth mother and Oscar. Back in Africa, tables turned, Saffy may be helpless to prevent Joseph’s execution—and she still has to nurse every two hours.
Worth enduring La Leche how-to and confusing backstory for the photo-finish of this race against death.