Green City in the Sun

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In 1919, Dr. Grace Treverton and her sister-in-law travel from Suffolk, England, to join Grace’s brother, Earl Valentine Treverton, in the wilds of Kenya. The Earl has traded beads and trinkets with the local Kikuyu chieftains to give an air of legality to a five thousand-acre land claim, the site for his often-dreamed-of coffee plantation. Grace’s dream is a mission and hospital. As the Trevertons gradually build their domain, they find resistance only in the form of Wachera Mathenge, a handsome, mysterious medicine woman who seems to symbolize in her strength and beauty the true soul of Kenya.

When Earl Treverton destroys the Kikuyu’s sacred fig tree, in blatant disregard for the feelings of his tribal neighbors, Wachera places a curse upon the family and prophesies the eventual reconquest of Africa by its rightful inhabitants. The lives of three generations of Trevertons and Mathenges parallel one another yet intertwine as the years pass and the destiny of each family is finally fulfilled.

From the rough beginnings of the coffee plantation, Bellatu, and the Grace Mission, through World War II, the Mau Mau Rebellion, and Kenyan independence, GREEN CITY IN THE SUN recounts fifty years of African history as seen through the eyes of English settlers and Kikuyu tribesmen. Author Barbara Wood depicts the good and the bad of both worlds along with the personal tragedies and triumphs of the central characters. Her impressive research and her interest in folk medicine and folkways are thoroughly interwoven into an absorbing story which is as much the story of Kenya as the story of two families.