As the title suggests, Labyrinth of Broken Dreams is awash with stories of unfulfilled potential, disappointments and betrayal. Serena, the main character in the book, is a gorgeous African woman who after leaving her native Kenya to pursue her career dreams, ends up trapped in a foreign land and having to endure an unfulfilled relationship with a man who neither loves nor respects her.
Serena’s life – it emerges – has been a steady stream of empty relationships and betrayals. Frustrated with her inability to find love, the young woman turns inward to a ‘self-lover’ for those nights when her loneliness gets the better of her.
As we soon learn, Serena’s inability to find happiness is linked, in part, to her difficult childhood – a past that comes to light when her friend Emeka comes home late one night in tears after a ‘date’ that goes horribly wrong. For Serena, the incident brings back many dark memories.
“Having been brought up in a remote African village, she knew what the young girls and women were going through but were too petrified to tell. Evil committed behind closed doors was hidden in the closely knit extended families.
At a tender age, she had witnessed the abuse of her playmates by their own uncles and cousins” – pg 58.
Like Serena, Emeka has a past – one that is even more tragic. Having left her native Nigeria to study in Canada, she never gets to finish her degree, and ends up a single mother surviving on the generosity of the Canadian government’s social services.
The book makes for an interesting, if somewhat familiar, take on the Diaspora experience that many immigrants go through when they leave their homelands in search of greener pastures. The storyline would have benefited from a more unified plot and structure. In some areas, the connections between events and characters appear too forced and serendipitous to be believable.
On the whole, however, Diana Lennox offers a debut that deserves to be applauded – one enriched by the author’s widely travelled background. Labyrinth of Broken Dreams has a lot going for it – not least the important themes that it explores. Lennox can only get better going forward.
Labyrinth of Broken Dreams is published by Rhinopham Publications and was released in 2011.