An Act Of Defiance / Something Bookish Review

It’s been three weeks since I finished reading An Act of Defiance and I struggled with a lot of emotions that clouded my thoughts and I didn’t know how to write the review. I hope I do a decent job of it below.

Category: Literary Fiction
Publisher: The Indigo Press
Published: March 2020
Pages: 336, Paperback with flaps

Harare, 2000. Gabrielle is a newly-qualified lawyer, fighting for justice for a young girl. Ben is an urbane and charismatic junior diplomat, attached to Harare with the American embassy. With high-level pressure on Gabrielle to drop her case, and Robert Mugabe’s youth wing terrorising his political opponents as he tightens his grip on power, they begin a tentative love affair. But when both fall victim to a shocking attack, their lives splinter across continents and their stories diverge, forcing Gabrielle on a painful journey towards self-realisation.

An Act Of Defiance / Something Bookish Review

Should You Bother Reading “An Act Of Defiance “

This novel is made up of fifty-four chapters, divided into ten parts. Chapter one which is the longest part is titled Capture, and chapter ten is Beginnings. I liked that about the book, don’t ask me why but for some strange reason, I really like novels that are divided into parts.

How do you imagine the future when your story traps you in the past? This is the question posed to the reader in the blurb. When I started reading, I hoped that I would be able to answer this question. Also, I wanted to be immersed in the love story of Gabrielle and Ben. I really did.

I ended up being very annoyed by their relationship and Gabrielle’s choices. I don’t want to give too much away. Maybe it’s the place I am in my life right now, putting less blame on external forces and working my way through it. I guess that’s what she was doing. Working through it, in her own way. I just didn’t like her choices and she became an unlikable character. This might be what draws you to her though.

Here is what I liked about An Of Defiance, the way Sabatini weaves the political happenings of the time period into the story is impeccable. So, while I came off irritated with Gabrielle, I got schooled and that’s a win.

You should also check out Literandra’s review of this book HERE.

About The Author


Irene Sabatini spent her childhood in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. After attending the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, she moved to Colombia, where she worked as a teacher. She has a master’s degree in child development from the Institute of Education at University College London.

Irene is the author of two previous novels; her debut novel, The Boy Next Door, won the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers. She divides her time between New York, Geneva and Bulawayo.


This Advanced Reader’s Copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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