Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It’s a rite of passage novel set in the mid- 1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is, and do some good in the world, but little does she realize what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate has in store for her, as she becomes embroiled in the poverty and turmoil of a small war-torn African nation under a controversial dictatorship. Jess must face the dangers of both civil war and unexpected romance. Can she escape her past or will it always haunt her?
The cover just stood out for me as it is so vibrant and made me feel happy. I found myself warming to the characters straight away and I found myself really liking Jess, as she goes on her journey about becoming her own person. I think Julia has written about the political events superbly, I don’t know if she has been over there before but everything about Ghana was described really well. The story ended on a cliffhanger which left me disappointed but I know that the sequel is out next year so I am happy. Truly heart warming story and one that will stay in my mind.