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Pink Gins Under a Mango Tree

Joanne van Driessen

Life is a series of dramas and, big or small, they should all be remembered.

Pink Gins Under A Mango Tree spans two decades, set in the tropical Gold Coast of West Africa during the colonial days before independence and then in the newly independent Ghana. This is about the life and dramas of a middle-class family, the father, a Dutch Resistance fighter and survivor of Dachau, his strong willed young English bride and their three daughters.

Sylvie relocates from the north-east of England to join her husband, Rudi, in Ghana. In stark contrast to her life in England, Sylvie finds herself in an exotic country living the high life, with maids and servants to take care of the mundane running of the house and grounds.

However, Sylvie soon begins to scratch the surface of her idyllic surroundings and see people for who they truly are. A visit to the doctor with unexpected results, a callous husband who is more interested in other people's opinions than his own wife's health, a return trip to England with horrifying events and a surprise visit to her husband's office all test and challenge Sylvie.

Could a blossoming friendship be the start of a new life for Sylvie once again?

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I was born in Alston, Cumberland, in 1959 and the youngest of three daughters born into a middle-class family who lived much of the time during the 1950s to 1970s in the Gold Coast, now Ghana in West Africa.

I consider my home to be the North Pennines of Northumberland but have lived and worked all over Britain, settling in Northern Ireland for the moment.

My mother became terminally ill with cancer and died in 2007 following a long illness and I was determined to write this book in her memory.