Ashley Twine, a Brisbane-based mechanical engineer, experiences a rough start to her volunteering stint in Zimbabwe when her boss, Scott Decker, is clearly unimpressed that his new volunteer turns out to be a woman. Ashley has come to the male-dominated private game reserve Delmonica to take a break from city life and her boyfriend Michael.
Readers who buy My Brother-but-One are really getting two books for the price of one. The first 15 chapters could easily form a book in their own right where, after a turbulent romance set in the restless African continent, Scott and Ashley finally realise they are meant to spend their lives together.
The second half leads into a shocking turn of events where Ashley is forced to take control of her own destiny and, despite difficult circumstances, manages to lead her new family to a safer place and discovers that she is, indeed, truly African.
Author Tina Marie Clark was born and raised in Africa and is clearly passionate about the Dark Continent. It is obvious she knows the story of Africa intimately through her personal experiences. The glossary explaining the Afrikaans and Zulu terminology greatly contributes to the easy readability of this novel.
The author also touches on the persecution of people with albinism in Africa, highlighting that racism is not limited to the discrimination of coloured people. Although Rodney—a white baby born to black parents—is an enemy to the people of Delmonica, the explanation of the subject at the end of the book clearly shows the author condemns this cultural phenomenon.
Tina’s childhood dream was to become a romance author and although My Brother but-One was published by Harlequin, her writing has turned out to be so much more than just romance. A wonderful first novel.