Phyllis Whitney

Blue Fire

A bride is swept up in family secrets and the blood diamond trade when she returns to South Africa in this novel by a New York Times–bestselling author.
When Chicagoan Susan Hohenfield brings her new husband, Dirk, to her childhood home in Cape Town, it’s with the innocence of a young girl. She remembers only the beauty of South Africa—and the pain of being abandoned by her father. Now, with a new perspective, she sees a country destroyed by apartheid. And her father, once accused of diamond smuggling, seems not the ogre she imagined, but a broken man powerless against the prison term that wrenched him from his daughter’s arms.
At least that’s the story Susan has been told. But she’ll discover the truth as this intimate family reunion raises grave and troubling new questions. Why is the man responsible for her father’s fate still lingering in the shadows? Why has Dirk’s former lover arrived with threats and incriminations? And why does Susan feel like a stranger in her own home? Now, in a place that is at once strange and familiar, charged with fear and intrigue, Susan must confront a dangerous past that isn’t quite through with her.
More than a classic gothic tale, Blue Fire is one of the first novels to deal with the turmoil in South Africa. It was written nearly three decades before the dismantling of apartheid and a half-century before the film Blood Diamond would bring attention to the devastating effects of the smuggling trade.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Phyllis A. Whitney including rare images from the author’s estate.
383 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
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  • James Bowenshared an impression2 months ago
    👍Worth reading

    I just finished "Blue Fire," another extraordinary Phyllis A. Whitney masterpiece. In this book, she tells a good story while attempting to explain what was happening with apartheid and race relations in South Africa in the mid-20th century.

    I'm in the process of re-reading all her books. I wish I had been reading Phyllis A. Whitney when I was a teenager instead of Henry Miller, Nabokov, Andre Gide, and other authors recommended to me by my high school English teachers. All her books are interesting and very self-affirming, whether they are adult or juvenile fiction.

    I love her sentence construction (good for reading out loud), her protagonists (always persons you can relate to and feel their struggles), and her way of bringing personal problems and various mysteries to satisfactory conclusions (life decisions as well as things encountered along the way).

    Like Agatha Christie, you always feel there is not a wasted word. Some modern authors seem to be trying to get to a certain page count with unnecessary descriptions - of California weather, for example - that are not necessary for the plot or character development. In "Blue Fire," Whitney spends a lot of time describing the flowers in South Africa and the local geography/topography, but these paragraphs are helpful as the reader comes to understand what is happening with the characters and the plot line.

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