Heather Rooken-Smith

Reader Reviews

I have finished Heather's book. It is a great read, and really brings back wonderful memories for me. The copy that you so generously gave me will go onto my book shelf between Karen Blixen’s, Out of Africa, and Elspeth Huxley’s, Flame Trees of Thika. Heather must have a wonderful memory for names and places, she makes the narrative so interesting, and this book is a must buy for all the Kenya expatriates, who are always talking about the good old days. The photos are interesting sana.
Keith Elliot, South Africa, 18th November 2016

Dear Gran, I've just finished reading your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It brought many emotions, had me in tears a few times too! It really is just lovely. Well done to you, what a wonderful achievement not only your publishing, but your LIFE has been! Not many people are able to have such a wonderful and in-depth account of their family history as what you have now provided your family with. Thank you so much for this. Lots of love,
Kathryn van der Mescht, South Africa
, 23rd November 2016

Daisy’s Daughter
By Heather Rooken-Smith
I had to stop and catch my breath after reading this book.
Don’t be fooled by the innocent “Wally Warthog” on the cover.
There’s a lot more to it.
From the dogged, determined endeavours and successes of the white settlers, to the shameful and inhumane savagery of Black Africa, this story has it all.
There’s happiness and tragedy, adventure, the back stabbing of governments and the great land of Africa itself.
As an historical account, it stands with Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa.
As a good story, it stands with Robert Ruark’s Something of Value and Neville Shute’s A Town like Alice.
I don’t think there’s another contemporary book about Africa quite like this one.
All compliments to Heather for writing it all down, so that future generations can appreciate the good and bad “old days”. Brian Neebe, South Africa, 7th December 2016. Author of Headbanger – Safari days in Africa


So lovely to finally have your book - gosh what a lot of work that must have been. It has been so interesting reading about your earlier life; I guess I only really got to know you once you were in Malindi, though I still remember Aunty Daisy, a strong kind person with a lovely, warm smile. Once I left Kenya, Mom, through the family grapevine, kept me up to date with your later moves but it was often only a brief outline. I knew there were tough times but had not realised how tough! The resilience of the earlier settlers was certainly in both yours and Ian's DNA. The outside world should know how heart wrenching it was to lose, with no real choice, one's home and country and the harsh aftermath that followed. Well done, a brilliant effort, you should be very proud.
Di Tooley, UK, 13th December 2016.

I am so enjoying, and moved by Daisy’s Daughter. And I do commend Heather’s detailed memory as well as her fine writing.
George McKnight, Kenya
, 13th December 2016


Have just finished reading Daisy's Daughter. My congratulations on a magnificent effort. You have done white Africa proud as well.
Author, Rob Ryan, Australia, 20th December 2016

Dear Heather, My sincerest thanks for the copy of your marvellous book - impossible to put it down when starting to read it. You really achieved something extraordinary and I am proud to say: I know the author personally.
With love, Dr Theunis and Wilna Schwartz, South Africa, 3rd January 2017


Have just finished that wonderful book! Thinking seriously about it I don't think I have EVER enjoyed reading a book so much and never wanted it to end. I lived there with that very special family, laughed and suffered with them and loved their Wally, Humpy, Tootsie-Wootsie and all their pets as if I knew them all. Enjoyed the beautiful poems by their children. What a talented family! Long may Heather enjoy a relaxed and healthy retirement. Richly deserved.
Thelma Gough, New Zealand, 14th January 2017


'Heather's book is really fantastic!'
Richard & May Mulcahy, South Africa, 14th January 2017


Heather Rooken-Smith I salute you! Thank you for sharing your life in such a profound way with your readers. Your compassion for all the many people, animals and birds and your unrelenting courage is admirable. “Daisy’s Daughter” is a footprint for future generations to follow. Footprints left behind are as important as the footprints for tomorrow. What more can be said other than I loved reading your book and blame you for many sleepless hours when I couldn’t put it down. Please keep on writing; I look forward to your next book. From two very happy readers, Val and James Daniel, South Africa, 17th January 2017

I really enjoyed reading "Daisy's Daughter, Our Lives for Africa" and found so much familiar in those pages that it brought me back to the Africa I knew when I was young. I also think it is an important book for our successors, because Heather really explains well how our people loved Africa and all the people we employed - and how we were good to them and good for Africa. So many intellectuals are re-writing history to fit political themes that the truth is hard to find. Wishing Heather all the best. Nic Pickford, USA, 3rd February 2017

I bought your book last Thursday and already received it on Monday. I have flipped a few pages and had a quick read of some of the Chapters, I will say your stories are really interesting and the writing is very descriptive and touching. I have just picked up your book before falling asleep last night and thinking to just skim through a few pages but I couldn't help but read more and more until when I felt too sleepy to read. To be honest I am normally not so patient when reading books full of words but I don't feel tired of reading yours. Harry Wong, England, 7th February 2017


Dear Heather, Thank you so much for the nice note you sent me through Don. I have attached it to my copy of your delightful book. I do want to congratulate you on one of the very best African books. I so admire the courage of your family. You built homes and farms and new lives only to lose out to the rolling African troubles. Very best wishes and thank you, John Clarke (ex Ol’Kalou!), USA, 10th February 2017

Just to let you know that I got your book eventually and have just finished reading it. What a story and I absolutely salute you and your family. What an unbelievable book. My daughter is reading it now. Memories came flooding back. Ian Allen, Kenya, 25th February 2017

I have read your fantastic book Heather.
It brought back so many memories of my 10 years in Kenya, which I have always thought of as my formative, happy and exciting years.
It also reminded me of the less pleasant and difficult times, which I had blocked out of my memory.
I think your honest and open way of telling your family’s truly African life story, has given me immense pleasure and an understanding how you and your family coped with whatever was thrown at you. You always emphasised the pleasures of the wonderful relationships with friends, staff and of course your amazing collection of pets!
Africa is a very special place and I can fully understand why you would never want to be anywhere else, despite all the set backs and horrors you had to endure.
The Laikipia land-grab is no surprise to any of us as Africa is very harsh at times, which you so eloquently described in Daisy’s Daughter.
I would recommend anyone to read your epic tale of your life and love of Africa. It is an immense and unique story of a great adventure.
Heather, I am very grateful to you and also very sad that we have not actually met so far. Fred Looman, UK, 28th February 2017


I just finished your book which was fabulous, what a journey and so well written!
I have just contracted a severe case of “African Fever”.
Charles Didham, USA, 28th February 2017


I've just finished Heather's book. Magnificent. Pity there isn't a Part Two. Edward Webber, Thailand, 1st March 2017


We received your book and my dad is very happy and thankful. He told me to send you all the best wishes and his very best regards! He enjoys reading the book a lot!
Best regards, Martin & Ludwig van de Loo, Germany, 30th March 2017

Dear Heather,
I loved your book. What a colossal undertaking and what a singular life you have lived. I am struck by your resilience — and memory.
Brava, brava, my friend. Author, Mr John H Heminway, USA, 5th March 2017

Dear Heather, I have just finished reading your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, reminiscing about my wonderful childhood, recognizing many people by their names, laughing about the animal’s antics, wondering how you coped with the continual moving from one country to another and then so much crying during the sad pages. It must have been very hard to pen those sad moments. I would recommend the book to anyone, regardless of whether they have lived in Africa or not. Kay Bates, Australia, 18th March 2017

Thank you so very much for a WONDERFUL, MOVING, HAD TO BE WRITTEN account of your life, Heather. It made me laugh, made me cry and made me aware of what a good, kind person you are. So brave too. I shall pass it on to my sister Isabella and her husband Ian - a former Rhodesian. Am sure your account of life in Africa will hold them spellbound too. I could hardly put the quite heavy book down! I was truly outraged at the "justice" meted out to your honourable and gentle father. Hard to forget that sort of ill-treatment of a true gentleman who seemed to have been stitched up by persons with loutish, mean agendas. So sorry for your pain. For this, and many other sorrows you have to bear. But as you say, what good times too! Unique and memorable. Lucky you in this respect. Not many women can have been as truly loved, adored, respected as you were by your Ian. Heather Fann, South Africa, 19th March 2017


I finished reading Heather's bitter/sweet, poignant book at 01hr00 this morning; left numb with emotion, and admiration at her story; and the telling of it.
I could smell the dust, and feel the heat. I choked on her anguish and pain.
"Cometh the hour, cometh the man", flashed through my mind, and I cannot believe that I never met Heather or Ian (to my knowledge), all the time we shared our space in Kenya, crisscrossing paths and the many friends, she mentions in her story. Dennis Leete, Kenya, 21st March 2017


I have read Daisy's Daughter from cover to cover. Heather Rooken-Smith has spent many hours and much thought to be able to put this book together. It describes in detail what happened to the family when Independence was given to Kenya and many of the British Colonials were let down by Britain and had to move on to other countries - like myself and my family moved to the United States. Heather and Ian decided to stay in Africa.
Ian was a farmer and owned a farm in Western Kenya when Independence was granted to Kenya. The British Land Bank offered below average prices for the land and many of the farmers were forced to take it under the circumstances. Ian and family moved to Malindi on the Kenya Coast and started a tourist fishing business, but later sold the business and moved south to look for land to farm. They ended up in Angola and invested in a large portion of land, and Ian started farming again, but within eighteen months the civil War started in Angola and Ian and family once again had to leave losing every thing they owned and worked for. They travelled by road to South West Africa now known as Namibia where Ian took over the management of a large cattle ranch.
To me it is amazing the amount of hardships the family went through in Africa.
During the Mau Mau times in Kenya I was stationed at Uplands Police Station and in fact was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the Ruck murders - a gruesome thought even for me today remembering the scene.
I think that this is one of the best factual books I have read in recent times. I think it is a book that could be read by anyone, even if one has never been to Africa, as it has the history of what happened to many of the families that lived in Africa during the Colonial days.
Bryan Coleman, USA, 3rd April 2017

Hi Heather, as promised I said I would get back to you and give my comments on your book Daisy's Daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed your book for many reasons, brought back memories of Kenya the people and places, the fact that history has a habit of repeating itself as can be seen in the present Laikipia situation. It is very sad then and now and I commend you and Ian and all the other pioneers all over Africa who endured so much. I loved the way you brought the life of those times back to life; I felt I was there at times - a must read for anyone who lived in East Africa from the 40's to the 80's.
I played rugby in those good old bad days and recall many of the farmers in Eldoret, Kitale and Nakuru who made time to play rugby and put us up in their lovely homes. Thanks for making the effort; I know what it takes to write a book. I have also been plodding away for 5 years or so, as they do say there is a book in every one of us, but nobody told us how difficult it is and how much discipline is needed. I did not appreciate how busy I am in retirement, or is it just an excuse. So when is your next book coming out Heather, I for one will buy it.
Warm regards, Alan and Denise Jones, South Africa, 10th April 2017

Dear Heather, We have just finished reading your book. So interesting, humorous, sad and everything in between. Thank you so much. Congratulations. Denis & Anne Bower, Australia, 13th April 2017

Dear Heather, I have finished your book! What an epic, the second half had me spellbound and I feel that it is an important representation of the role that white colonials played in Africa both on their arrival and then their subsequent departures. It brought back so many memories of our place at Malindi and I am left with a sense of gratitude at how lucky we were to live in such an amazing country and Malindi of course was a paradise. Thinking on this, the pattern was the same for many white Kenyans; trying to figure out where the future lay, coming up with a plan and immediately enacting it in the hope of a more secure better life but leaving a country they loved. The main victims of this process were those loyal and devoted Africans who built their lives alongside the white farmers. It must have been terrible for them when they left.
I do like the way you tell your story with the anecdotal detail building up into the theme. It creates the picture nicely and makes you feel you are in the story and there with you.
Your Dad's story is also intriguing.
It is a happy book of your daily lives in Africa interspersed with the tragedies and the immense dramas.
I feel like I have re-visited Africa after reading it. Thanks for writing such an amazing book.
Graham Duirs, New Zealand, 23rd April 2017

A most beautiful book has arrived in my post box. It is just wonderful and I can't thank you enough. I shall truly enjoy reading this. I am going to make sure that I cover it with a "plastic" because the cover is just too beautiful to have something happen to it.
Leila Cambra (Ulyate), Australia, 3rd May 2017

I loved every bit of this book, Heather has written it so beautifully that I felt I was with her through all the experiences she went through, both the funny and happy occasions as well as the traumatic times. It is a great insight into our lives in Africa, where so many put their hearts, soul and fortune. It will be a good memory for the people who remember those times and an accurate history book for the generations to come. Once you start reading Daisy's Daughter - Our Lives for Africa you won't be able to put it down. I REALLY, REALLY loved Heather’s story. Mandy Newton, UK, 11th May 2017

Dear Heather and Lindsay,
I'm so glad your book is receiving such enthusiastic reviews. It is indeed an amazing achievement. I keep telling anyone who has an interest in Kenya about it. I wish I had two or three copies to lend out to all those who think Europeans were only in the country to exploit it!
I am still only half way through but have thoroughly enjoyed reliving so much of my youth. As I read I kept being reminded of people and places and events. I guess we were lucky to have grown up in that amazing place and time and I grieve for all that was lost.
I'm also filled with admiration for the new start you made in Angola and interested in the new experiences you had there. I look forward to reading the rest and I'm sure I'll be sad when I come to the end.
With love and many thanks to both of you for giving me this lovely experience.
Ursula Brown (née Fayle), New Zealand, 15th May 2017

Dear Heather
We must apologise for not having written to you sooner but our house move delayed our reading of your wonderful book which has been much enjoyed. They say that there is a book in each of us but there is certainly nothing near this in us!
What marvellous memories of Kenya you brought to us who now grow old in an old country that has little to offer those of us who lived and loved in Africa. You, Ian and your family have certainly given your lives “for Africa”, an Africa we all love but which is rapidly disappearing from view and, without your beautifully written book, from memories. Heather, this is a truly wonderful book that should be read and kept by every Settler and ex-Settler so that their ancestors know what life was really like, so unlike the awful liberal nonsense written today about our times in Africa.
Heather, thank you for letting me have a copy of your lovely book which certainly lives up to its title “Daisy’s Daughter – Our Lives for Africa”. We hope that you will accept this as a genuine appreciation of all you have done for us and many others. We must thank Lindsay for helping Caroline to get us connected without whom we would never have had your book to read and enjoy.
Love to you and all your family, Dick & Val Daniell, UK, 16th May 2017

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