An African Orchard


Mavis Pachter appreciation

Mavis Pachter

In the early days of TSL, we had to let potential authors know about us. That proved a rocky journey in terms of our message being received by the prospective author in the way we hoped and vice versa. Thankfully we didn’t need to follow that route for too long and word of mouth led to us getting a number of authors – this is still the case. While we still need to align understanding and set out how we are similar and different to other publishers and means of publishing, the main hurdle has been overcome by people sharing their experiences and values.
It was through the word of mouth route that Mavis found TSL back in 2019 and in 2020 her first book, Leo, the Lion Whisperer, was published. This is a sweet adventure story set in South Africa following a trip to the zoo. Mavis followed this up with an adult book, also set in South Africa, this time during the Anglo-Boer War or South Africa War on 1899-1902. An African Orchard is an historical fiction set around an apple farm in the Cape. The strength of this novel is the interplay between cultures – a family migrating from Poland, marrying into a Boer family and the main breadwinner dying. The story looks at how the women cope with life in a concentration camp and then after with no traditional male to take control. The lasting impression of this book with me is that of the strong, independent woman I have always associated with Africa and how the various traditions are negotiated (or fought).
Mavis then stepped out of her comfort zone and produced a science-fiction book. Two robots who think they’re human (well, one is programmed while the other isn’t) are the main characters in Illumination. If you’ve been following my views etc on books, you’ll know that I’m not keen on anything futuristic or fantasy, but Illumination seemed to bridge that gap, no doubt because of the very real-type issues that are addressed with Artificial Intelligence trying to be human. And this was written before all the hype about ChatGTP and AI taking over the world. In essence, the it is the exploration of moral values that appealed to me in Illumination: a subtle theme running through all of Mavis’s books. Ilumination also takes us away from Africa, the robots, Tewley and Junty, find themselves in the USA.
I know there’s more coming from Mavis, so keep an eye on the TSL news… I’ve enjoyed reading all three of her books so far and wait to see what the next brings.