Mountain High Press announces,
NO ORDINARY LIFE, a Diplomat’s Inside Account
At 29, Mary and her husband, a diplomatic special agent, embark on a two-year assignment to the U.S. Embassy in South Africa. Working with Ambassador Princeton Lyman during a critical time when a continued campaign of economic sanctions from the international community has pressured President F.W. de Klerk to negotiate with recently-freed Nelson Mandela to end apartheid with the end goal of a democratic government. Uncertainty about the future hangs like a cloud cover over the South African heat.
When she meets with the local township matriarch about a USAID project, she’s chased out by a mob chanting One Settler, One Bullet. Mary is shaken to the core. The American community is on edge. After yet another massacre, Patrick insists Mary learn to shoot. But no gun can protect her when the Cape Cafe is bombed killing and injuring many.
A dozen times she makes plans to go home, yet she’s aware of what it means to be part of this watershed moment in history, if the country can make it to an election before imploding. The whole world watches the drama evolve.
Mary’s story unfolds in not only in Cape Town, but in the wilds of Kruger Park Game Reserve, the beauty of the wine country of the Western Province, and the captivating Atlantic coastal peninsula to the tip of Cape of Good Hope. In these stunning settings, she and Patrick find each other time and again while exploring the beautiful South African countryside.
This personal story of marriage in a foreign land parallels the political turmoil in Cape Town as the election draws near. On a professional level Mary finds her footing, working with the townships to overcome the hardships. But as plans for the election flounder, so does her relationship with Patrick. As the country goes to the brink and is transformed, so too, Mary changes from an idealistic, Midwestern girl to a mature woman committed to the mission of liberation for all South Africans and determined to save her marriage.
“Beautifully written with candor and sensitivity, evoking the highs and lows of that period, the impact on Mary and her colleagues of constant tension and worry, and the challenges in her marriage as both she and her husband become more engrossed in their work and more deeply affected by their environment. Few memoirs have captured this interplay of the personal and the historical as well as in this work.”– Princeton Lyman, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa
“Through it all, the incomparable beauty of South Africa shines through, as does the heartwarming story of Mary and Patrick. Be prepared to fall in love with these two, along with all the other extraordinary people you’ll encounter – from Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali. I can guarantee you one thing: once you allow this book to enter your life, you’ll never be the same.” – R. Harrington
“Once I started Reading, I could not stop! What an adventure. I felt like I was there with Mary.” – Joanna Davidson, The Denver Post
“Gritty, extraordinarily down-to-earth page turner, that will leave you wanting more.” – Beverly Schroeder, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service
“Great Read! The energy and flow of this engrossing narrative carries a wealth of historical fact laced with human experience. I was moved by the dedication of the American emissaries and the incredible tenacity and bravery of the Africans, especially Nelson Mandela. This books opens up our world and invites us into engagement and hope.” – D.C.
To read more about her personal insights of diplomacy, love, adventure and peace during this important period in South Africa’s history, please click below.
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