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Patrick, an idealistic and dedicated young doctor, and Fiona, an intelligent and passionate ornithologist, live and work in and around London. When they fall in love and marry, their happiness is tainted when they are unable to fulfil their dream of having a child of their own. 


Nandi is a bright young student from an underprivileged South African home. Growing up during the ravages and restrictions of apartheid, she fights for the chance to study further. But this dream is in danger of shattering when she discovers, to her horror, that she is pregnant, and realises that she will be unable to fulfil her dream of studying further if she keeps the child she is carrying.


But for Hannah, born from Nandi, and adopted by Patrick and Fiona, it is not so easy to work out who she really is. Is she the privileged daughter of an upper middle class British couple or is she an unwanted South African child who needed an adoptive family? How can she reconcile these two personas, especially when she looks so different from her adoptive parents? In her questioning mind, she appears to be not White enough for Britain, but not Black enough for Africa. As she grows older, her identity issues become greater until they threaten to engulf her. Her parents, wanting to be faithful to a promise they made to her birth mother, but also desperately frightened of losing their child to her birth heritage, are not forthcoming when it comes to answering her questions. This makes her feel she can’t trust them and alienates her further. It is only when she re-establishes a connection with the country of her birth that Hannah starts to work through the issues that trouble her, in her search to find the peace that appears to be so elusive.

The Reluctant Cuckoo by Cathy Donald

SKU: 9781776053650
  • Cathy Donald was born and educated in Gqeberha / Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. From an early age she loved writing stories, and later became involved in speech and drama, as well as script writing for dramatic productions and musicals. Her career path, however, led her in a different direction and she qualified as a medical doctor at the University of the Witwatersrand, subsequently working in rural hospitals as well as urban private practices. Since her children have become adults, she has again been able to indulge her passion for words and stories.
    She has written and published five novels over the past eight years; "The Reluctant Cuckoo" (2016), "Miles to Go" (2018) "The Silence of the Shadows" (2020) “Breathless” (2022) and “The First Stone” (2023)
    In 2022, her novel “The Silence of the Shadows” was awarded the Jury prize at the Milan International Literary Awards. 

    She lives in Somerset West with her husband, Roy, and has three adult children.

    All her novels celebrate family and friendship and the life-affirming values that mean so much to her. Most are set in South Africa and handle issues that are relevant both to fellow South Africans and to the world at large.

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