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I often discuss with my husband what being a Luo culturally means. Despite all other cultural influences that converge in me, I most strongly identify with Luoland and the Luos. Although I was born in Luoland, Kenya, I’ve spent most of my life in Europe; from preparatory school in Yorkshire to universities in Britain and Germany.

My husband is German and has lived most of his life in Franconia, Bavaria. So the more we delve into the vagaries of our mutual attraction to each other, the more we uncover. We often talk till the small hours about our customs, rites and rituals, religious beliefs and societal norms. It was fascinated me that Germans, and Europeans in General, still keep their old traditions and beliefs alive. It’s not unusual to walk into a modern chrome and marble bank to find them displaying old farming equipment, an ancient cart filled with pumpkins and straw, right in the marble and glittering bank foyer, to celebrate harvest time as it was done five hundred or a millennium ago. It always makes me think:

Why do we back in my mother continent, Africa, call everything that reminds us of our ancient times “backward” and feel ashamed to display them publicly? Why don’t we talk to our children about them? Why do we not care that these traditions, the rites and rituals of harvests, spirituality, marriages, weddings, funerals and births, die away?

There are many such examples. In Europe, Europeans have merged their ancient traditions with modernity. In Africa, we despise or are ashamed of our traditions and run away from them. We don’t even want our children to know that “we used to be like that”. It is true that you can’t go forward without knowing where you’re coming from. Through my discussions with my husband, I began to dig back into African traditions that have been lost, or squirreled away to museums and private collectors in the West, and even in China and Japan. My husband and I have become a thousand shades of archaeological discoveries.

This is how I came to write the Bound to Tradition trilogy. Once the books were written and my husband read them in the German translation, it was clear that one or two things had to be explained to the readers. In particular were the Luo terms of endearment and nicknames which may confuse readers because these terms they defy both logic and reality. A male may address a female as “father, grandfather” or “mother, grandmother”, irrespective of age. A female may do exactly the same when affectionately addressing a man. Likewise, parents address their children with these terms of endearment whether the child is a boy or a girl, an infant, a teenager or an adult, including grownup children who are already married and have children of their own.

Luos revere their forebears and hold them in high regard. The older one gets the more they gain respect and reverence. View these endearment terms as no different from other cultures whose terms of endearment are angel, precious, honey, heart, mouse, soul, darling or sweetheart, irrespective of age or gender.

Another “confuser” is the word disease. Luos used this as a curse word because they associate disease with ungodliness, crime, divine punishment or luck of personal hygiene. It can be used on its own or in a phrase or sentence.

I hope that you’ll now enjoy reading my interracial romance books and win gems from two cultural worlds. Thank you for reading my story.




The story in my Bound to Tradition books takes place between 1950 and 1979.
The young Luo girl Khira, fights against the traditions of her people and society in order to achieve her personal modern world. Half orphaned, she is brought up by her extended maternal family in very conservative Luo traditional values. At the age of five months she gets betrothed to the neighbour’s son, Barry, who himself is only six years old.

Khira’s life changes when, at age twelve, she is sent to a British missionary boarding school, St Mary’s. Here she meets other schoolgirls of her age and older, but with a completely different “modern” upbringing – the daughters of Kenya’s political and economic elite. For the first time she learns about the world outside her family and clans people. These schoolmates become Khira’s role models. She listens, watches and imitates them as well as her European and Euro-American teachers, and in particular her fifty-year-old Englishwoman headmistress, Miss Churchill, who is unmarried and devoted to missionary work. Soon she’s the perfect chameleon – during exeats and holidays she slips into the Luo “well-bred maiden”, but during school terms she strives to be ultra-modern in thought and behaviour.

Unfortunately Khira’s uncle, responsible for paying her school fees, dies and the girl is forced to leave school. Furthermore, she is now fifteen and according to traditions, in a marriageable age. Khira fights against this. She succeeds by pointing out that Barry is still carrying on his education and being a student’s wife living with her parents-in-law is not what a loving family would want to relegate their daughter to.

But helping her mother cook, fetch water and firewood is not exactly what she – the “modern” Khira – would call a career. Yet the family is too poor to pay for any kind of trained skills.
Fortunately her headmistress, Miss Churchill, with whom she kept contact, intervenes and gets Khira to a secretarial college in Nairobi. Miss Churchill offers to pay for the girl’s tuition fees if the girl can take care of her boarding and lodging. Khira can: Barry’s older sister Edwina and her husband Jonathan both live and work in Nairobi. Khira would live with them, the family agrees, and the couple would now be her “duenna” to make sure she does not lose her “purity” before her wedding day.

She does well at the secretarial college and achieves relatively high speeds in shorthand and typing in less than a year. Khira at last manages to find employment as a steno-typist in an international company in Nairobi, the Lindqvist Group. And that’s where she meets Erik, a Swedish industrialist old enough to be her father.

Erik Lindqvist is a man with both a past and little regard for women, because his first marriage so disappointed him that he mistrusts all women and has avowed never to marry again. At the age of eighteen he had left home and started out as a manual labourer in the harbours of Gothenburg, Malmö and Hamburg before breaking off to Africa to manage a clove plantation in Zanzibar owned by the Frenchman de Jonghes. Within two years of working in Zanzibar, Erik, now twenty-four, marries his employer’s daughter, Claudette.

When the marriage remains childless it begins to disintegrate and graduates into wanton promiscuity and infidelity. Claudette begins to drink heavily. Erik has in the meantime started an antique business in his home city of Gothenburg, run by his younger brother Sven, while he remains in Zanzibar to continue managing the clove plantation as well as collecting more African antiques and artefacts for his antique business. Soon he is collecting from as far away as Kyoto and South America. At a party in Tananarive, Madagascar, he meets an Italian count who has a coffee plantation in Kenya. He learns from the count that the latter is planning to start a transport company with a fleet of transporters to convey goods from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to all the landlocked countries like the Southern and Northern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe and Zambia) as well as Uganda and other central and southern landlocked African countries.

But the count needs a financial partner or two. Erik grabs the chance, finally moves to Nairobi after Claudette’s death (liver sclerosis), and begins to build his industrial empire, the Lindqvist Group, involved in transport, franchises for Japanese cars, office machinery, fleets of small aircrafts for the tourism industry, shipping and forwarding, banking, wool in Australia and oil in Canada.

His favourite pastime is womanising. But when he meets Khira his attitude towards women reverses out of orbit. At first his sole intention is to adopt the sixteen-year-old half orphan. Khira on the other hand, after moving away from Edwina and Jonathan’s home, has other plans for herself and Erik. Despite himself, he is not immune to them. She’s the child-woman with the wisdom of a septuagenarian, an incredible poise and the gracefulness of ancient aristocrats. It is the beginning of a passionate love with a lot of cultural and traditional stumbling blocks on the soon-to-be-lovers’ path – from both of their cultural and familial worlds. But the two naturally ambitious and strong characters are also well armed for both worlds.
They finally marry.


With Erik as her coach, Khira is finally an adept businesswoman and Vice Chairman of the Lindqvist Group. She has achieved her lifelong dream with a loving husband at her side and five children…
Until her traditional beliefs catch up with her and she secretly allows her eleven-year-old daughter to be “initiated into womanhood”. Erik finds out what Khira has done when their daughter is on the brink of death. Any immediate adequate medical assistance is not within reach because the family is out for a weekend in Tsavo National Park.

Once again betrayed by a woman he loves and trusts blindly, Erik loses control and physically attacks Khira with a blow that sends her crashing to the wall. He ends up with a wife in a coma and his worshipped daughter fighting for her life. It is night time in the savannah, hundreds of miles away from the nearest hospital in Mombasa, and the only transport available is a Range Rover, the only means of communication a radio call to the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi which is nearly four times farther away than Mombasa. He cannot reach any of his pilots, whether those flying the tourist fleets or his private jet. Because it is the not only the middle of the night but also a weekend.

He has to somehow get his comatose wife and dying daughter to the hospital in Mombasa for medical attention, then take it up from there.

Fortunately a small Cessna that had brought in American tourists is docked at Taita Hills lodge (sister lodge to Salt Lake, and only twelve miles away) in Tsavo. Using both foul and fair means Erik forces the Cessna pilot to fly him and his family to Mombasa in the dark African night…


In the end Erik has a comatose wife in a clinic in Montreux, Switzerland, and his children to take care of. But he had never learnt how to be a hands-on father. Besides, his daughter is also traumatised from witnessing her father hit her mother into a coma because of her – the daughter – and is under psychological treatment. Erik turns to his parents and Khira’s best friend, Joyce, for help, hoping he could then run off and escape his own torments about his family in this tragedy. But Joyce won’t let Erik simply run away. She gives him the choice of either remaining at the side of his wife and children or risking losing custody of the children and (Khira’s) half of his immense wealth – due to a POA Khira and Joyce had signed years ago as a pre-emptive to such an eventuality, without Erik’s knowledge. And once again he sees betrayal by a woman he loved and trusted. But Erik has to fight his demons and make a choice…

The books are on Amazon worldwide as paperback, hardcover and Kindle.



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1 comment:

apky said...

Thank you so much for reading this. I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed the write.