Throwback Thursday is a fun meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk as a way to share reviews of books that are old favorites, as well as books that have finally been read after languishing for a while. Visit Renee’s blog here: It’s Book Talk

I found myself thinking of Rwanda today, and then this book came to mind. It opened up my heart and is another huggable favorite from my reading earlier this year, before I started my blog. I think my review conveys my passion for it! 

My Thoughts:

In The Shadow of 10,000 HillsIn The Shadow of 10,000 Hills by Jennifer Haupt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

10,000 stars to In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

I’m pretty lucky in my reading life. I enjoy the vast majority of books I read, including many, many that I love. So when I read a stand-out, something mesmerizing and completely memorable, like this book, I want to shout from the hilltops (rooftops simply aren’t tall enough, and I can never resist a pun!) – READ THIS BOOK. Here’s why.

Lovable characters. So many of my book friends thrive on lovable characters. In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills has complex, endearing, beloved main and secondary characters.

Rachel is pregnant when the reader meets her. Her mother has recently passed away from cancer, and she’s been estranged from her father for years.

Lillian is a human rights’ activist now running an orphanage in Rwanda. How she got there, and who she is, wow, what a woman. What a story.

Tucker is a medical doctor living in Rwanda and a friend of Lillian. He has his own story as to how he landed there, and he’s one of the most nurturing, loving male characters I’ve witnessed in print.

Nadine is a college student who lost her parents in the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda. She comes of age in this beautiful story, and it’s like witnessing a metamorphosis.

I could keep going with these characters. They are stunning, fleshed out, fallible, vulnerable people.

The writing. Jennifer Haupt spent eleven years writing this story. The investment she had in these characters shines in her writing. The lives of these people intersect in a masterful way. The writing has perfect pacing, ideal flow. The descriptions of Rwanda’s hillsides, the wildlife, and its people, are all done with a light, but impeccably-drawn, hand. Jennifer Haupt’s devotion to this story is apparent through her writing.

The messages. Reading this book is a journey of emotions, and I want you to discover your own messages within these pages. I personally took away lessons on hope and the healing power of forgiveness.

In the Shadow 10,000 Hills is a captivating story of enduring people. It is the prime example of a favorite book of mine, a most-huggable book.

Thanks to Jennifer Haupt for writing this treasure of a novel, Central Avenue Publishing for allowing me to read an early copy, and Netgalley for the ARC. In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills is available now!

View all my reviews


Follow the intertwining stories of three women from diverse backgrounds, all searching for family and personal peace in post-genocide Rwanda. At the heart of this inspiring novel that bestselling author Wally Lamb calls “an evocative page-turner” and Caroline Leavitt calls “blazingly original” is the discovery of grace when there can be no forgiveness.

In 1968, Lillian Carlson left Atlanta, disillusioned and heartbroken, after the assassination of Martin Luther King. She found meaning in the hearts of orphaned African children and cobbled together her own small orphanage in the Rift Valley alongside the lush forests of Rwanda.

Three decades later, in New York, Rachel Shepherd, lost and heartbroken herself, embarks on a journey to find the father who abandoned her as a young child, determined to solve the enigma of Henry Shepherd, a now-famous photographer.

When an online search turns up a clue to his whereabouts, Rachel travels to Rwanda to connect with an unsuspecting and uncooperative Lillian. While Rachel tries to unravel the mystery of her father’s disappearance, she finds unexpected allies in an ex-pat doctor running from his past and a young Tutsi woman who lived through a profound experience alongside her father.

Have you read this book, or do you plan to? Any favorite deeply moving, emotional reads? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR