A lovely new review has just appeared for ‘Igboland’ on NetGalley:
“Set in 1960’s civil war era Nigeria, this book tells the story of Clem a Methodist Missionary and his wife Lydia who settle in Biafra/Igboland to work with the local populous and churches, clinics and schools. The story is told from Lydia’s point of view and grips from the very start with such attention to the smallest details whilst opening your eyes to the cultural, religious and political differences that they are challenged with.
“Set over a few years it shows the strain that a missionary’s wife has as someone without a ‘role’, ie she is not the missionary, but his wife and the search for self-recognition and finding her own identity. However, war, love, the local villagers and illness all drive wedges between the couple and the pressure on their relationship is huge.
“The story is very well written and you are there with them as they face West Africa together and come to terms with their lifestyle adjustments. The author has created something very special here that really gave me cause to want more of this style of writing that’s alive and thoroughly researched.
“A great book that was hard to stop reading!”
- “enchanting, heartbreaking and uplifting.”
- “A riveting read.”
- “a tender portrayal of change and growth… Poignant, yet uplifting, this novel opens the mind to ourselves and the world beyond.”
- “An immensely worthwhile read.”
- “difficult themes are handled skilfully and sensitively … thought provoking.”
- An, interesting and engrossing read.”
- “a cracking tale that would translate to the medium of film extremely well.”
A new life begins for her thousands of miles from home.
Lydia and Clem Davie arrive in an Igbo village in Nigeria in July 1967 just as civil war breaks out, but Lydia has trouble adjusting to life in West Africa: a place so unfamiliar and far away from everything she truly understands.
Initially, most of the locals are welcoming and friendly, until one or two begin a frightening campaign of anti-white protests.
Lydia’s life is changed irrevocably after she meets enigmatic Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and war victim, Grace. Through them Lydia learns about independence, passion and personal identity.
Conflict and romance create emotional highs and lows for Lydia, whose marriage and personal beliefs slowly begin to crumble.
Will this house in a Nigerian bush village ever seem like home?
IGBOLAND is a romantic novel of passion, conflict and adventure. While it is a work of fiction, it is inspired by the diary, photos and stories of my parents who lived out in Nigeria for six years.
My Mum’s diary is full of intriguing details and incidents, although it is important to note that IGBOLAND is a work of fiction with characters very different to my parents, Janet and Gerald Gardiner. Below is an extract from my Janet’s diary. The Igbo girl, Rachel, became the inspiration for the character Grace in IGBOLAND. Although Grace’s character experiences different challenges – the tone and the mood made a big impression on me, and I hoped to capture that same sense of suffering and hardship. Read the novel to see how I went from this, to the story of Grace.
FROM THE DIARY OF JANET GARDINER
3rd December 1967
“Gerald took us up to Oturkpo hospital to visit an Igbo girl. She must have been brought up from the east for treatment (a caesarean operation). She was a pitiful sight, trembling and in a completely confused state; she must only be around 18. It must feel awful for her with a new baby (a tiny sweet little thing – pinkish brown) and in enemy territory, separated from home and family. People treat her kindly although the nurses don’t seem to do much for her – she is unkempt and looks a mess. There are flies everywhere in the ward. It tears your heart out to see her. She wants to go home, but the doctor won’t allow her to be moved as she is too ill and weak. She wept when Gerald read her some letters from her family.
10th December 1967
“The war continues with heavy fighting still at Nsukka, Enugu and places along the border – casualties are heavy on both sides. The turnover of wounded soldiers in the hospital is very speedy. One soldier proudly showed us the ‘Biafran’ bullet which was removed from his shoulder – a souvenir. The Igbo girl, whose name is Rachel, is making little progress. Hospital patients out here are fed by their relatives, so the only food this girl gets is what we take. Her hair had to be shaved off it was such a mess, so we gave her material to make a head square. Her husband has been killed and no-one knows whether her father is okay or not.”
3rd January 1968
“General Gowon announced a new and large campaign to be launched against Biafra unless they accept a settlement on federal terms.”
13th January 1968
“Rachel has been transferred to Ikache to be looked after by the Dutch nurses. She is worried about her family and her father, whom she believes has been killed. Poor, sad girl, she seems to have no will to live even though her baby is getting stronger.”
14th January 1968
“Rachel, the Igbo girl, has died. Her operation wound never healed. Someone is going to try to get the baby to her family in Biafra. We are going to spend the money we got from mum and dad on the baby.”
Jeff’s Website: http://jeffgardiner.com/
My novel ‘IGBOLAND’ is inspired by the photos and tales of my Mum and Dad, and by my Mum’s diary from their six years living in the Nigerian bush. I was born out there in Jos in the middle of the Nigerian Civil War.
My Dad, Gerald Gardiner, was a Methodist missionary out in Idoma. My Mum, Janet Gardiner, was a young, newly married wife.
They lived in a bush village called Iga; the only white residents for many miles. Even in the 1960s, they still encountered people who had not seen white folk before.
My Mum felt she could offer a little help by opening a tiny dispensary to help with simple medical complaints.
Dad helped run local schools, churches and teacher training colleges. School buildings and resources were vey basic.
My parents always commented on how friendly, welcoming and happy the villagers were. They were always welcomed, spoiled and treated with the utmost respect. Even though the Nigerian folk had little in terms of possessions, they would often give gifts of yams, chickens or fruit
Below is a picture of the village elders.
The road were treacherous and often just muddy rutted paths. If Mum and Dad’s Beetle ever broke down, locals would appear magically from the bush to help out.
Mum and Dad are still in touch with the Omafu family out in Nigeria, who run a maternity clinic, supported by kind donations from my parents.
I felt I should end with a photo of myself out in Nigeria. Here goes:
An early shot of Jeff Gardiner, author of ‘IGBOLAND’, a novel of passion and conflict inspired by my parents’ years in West Africa.
To find out more about ‘IGBOLAND’ ‘like’ my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Igboland/595879100465696
To buy a copy of ‘IGBOLAND’ click on the cover image below.
My novel, IGBOLAND, is inspired by the photos, diaries and stories of my Mum and Dad, Janet and Gerald. They lived in the Nigerian bush for six years as missionaries, during the Biafran War. They faced many difficulties and hardships, but remember their time with great joy; for them it was a life -changing experience as a young couple. I was born out in Nigeria (in Jos), and my parents brought up two children with relatively few resources.
Below is a selection of some photographs from their time out there – taken between 1964-70.
IGBOLAND is a tale of passion and conflict set in Nigeria in the 1960s. It is not the story of my parents, but a work of fiction using the context of my Mum’s diaries, and extensive research into Igbo culture and beliefs.
To purchase a copy visit my website: jeffgardiner.com/
The IGBOLAND BLOG TOUR is underway. I’ll be visiting a number of other author’s blogs and posting extracts and information about my novel IGBOLAND. I’ll also be including pgotographs from Nigeria in the 1960s and explaining how the novel was inspired by the experiences of my own parents who lived in Nigeria for six years. During their time there I was born in Jos, and to this day I consider Nigeria my spiritual home.
Please visit and like this facebook page set up especially for news about the novel: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Igboland/595879100465696
Blog Itinerary and links:
- Tim Taylor’s blog: http://www.tetaylor.co.uk/#!blog/c1pz
- Jane Bwye’s blog: http://jbwye.com/2014/02/25/want-to-see-whats-underneath-the-cover/
- Nancy Jardine’s blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/come-fly-with-with-me-to-fascinating.html
- Ailsa Abraham’s blog: http://ailsaabraham.com/2014/03/01/igboland-by-jeff-gardiner/comment-page-1/
- Miriam Drori’s blog: http://miriamdrori.com/2014/03/03/igboland/#comments
- Cathie Dunn’s blog: http://cathiedunn.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/author-jeff-gardiner-introduces-new.html
- Sarah Louise Smith’s blog – Sunday 9th March
- Shani Struther’s blog – 10th March
- Frances di Plino’s blog – 15th March
- Catriona King’s blog – 19th March
- Elizabeth Delisi’s blog – 28th March
It’s a tale of passion and conflict, set in Nigeria during the Biafran War.
(Click on the cover image below to purchase your copy)
The novel was inspired by my parents, who lived out in Nigeria for six years. I was born in Jos and consider Nigeria to be my ‘spiritual home’.
Here’s a photo of one of the houses my parents lived in:
This next one is the village of Iga as it looked in the late 1960s:
Over the next few posts on this blog, I will be giving more information and posting more pictures of life in Nigeria in the 1960s.
Thanks to my Mum and Dad – Janet and Gerald.