Books

The Tin Heart Gold Mine

BY RUTH HARTLEY

Heart of Darkness and Lust for Life collide as the Cold War in Africa gets hot.

Lara, the artist, loves Oscar, a suave, older entrepreneur, and owner of the Tin Heart Gold Mine. She also loves Tim, a journalist seeking truth.

The Tin Heart Gold Mine is a dramatic story, about vibrant, intriguing characters passionate about art, love, the making of money and the African bush, whose lives become entangled in war and politics.

How well do we ever know the people we love?Read Excerpt…

The book cover of The Tin Heart Gold Mine by Ruth Hartley is a photo of a rusty white metal heart nailed to a brown tree bole, with the book title in gold centred over the heart.

The Tin Heart Gold Mine
by Ruth Hartley
— Book Cover

Video: Interview with Ruth Hartley, about her book “The Tin Heart Gold Mine”

  • The Tin Heart Gold Mine is on the surface a story of an artist in Africa trying to find a personal strategy for fulfilment. On her way she encounters Tim, an idealistic foreign correspondent, and Oscar an older man with a mysterious past.

    But deeper than that it is a story of betrayal, hard choices, personal and social violence. At the end of the book you are left with doubt — Will Tim come back? Can Oscar really be dead? and who is the father of Lara’s child? A fascinating read! John Corley

Ruth Hartley interview on Talk Radio Europe – Spain
March 2017


The Shaping of Water

BY RUTH HARTLEY

As ideals and dreams founder on the rocks of political realities, three couples and a mother and son search for ways to keep the faith.

The vast man-made Lake Kariba in Zambia is built on political and geological fault lines. Built to generate power and maintain colonial power, it drowns a valley and displaces Milimo and his mother Natombi. Charles and Margaret love the lake and their holiday cottage on its shore, but their way of life is endangered. Marielise and Jo take respite at the cottage from their exhausting battle against apartheid. Manda and Nick confront their damaged relationship.

They are all connected by a secret known only to the priest, Father Patrick.
Read Excerpt…

The Shaping of Water by Ruth Hartley - book cover

The Shaping of Water
by Ruth Hartley
— Book Cover

Video: Interview with Ruth Hartley, about her book “The Shaping of Water”

  • The Shaping of Water is a very good read. Interconnected lives are affected by a single act; the creation of the Kariba dam. The unintended consequence is an altered ecosystem and the separation of populations and countries. …

    Visitors leave their names and comments in the guest book of a cottage on the lake shore. The water level rises and falls and the natural world of plants and birds is woven into the story in brilliant passages of calm in the midst of turmoil.Polly Loxton
    On Amazon UK 28 Jan 2014

  • Great read. What I look for in a novel is to learn something new. For me this story of how Rhodesia emerged into Zimbabwe fulfilled this. The descriptions of the landscapes are impressive as is the narrative of the building of Kariba dam.

    I felt that the historical, political unfolding of Apartheid, through the ingenious use of ‘The Cottage’ and its guests, was told with a great depth of understanding. I couldn’t put this book down and did not want it to end.Kazabella
    On Amazon UK 29 Jan 2014

  • The author’s knowledge and love of central Africa, where this novel is set, add depth and life to the story. Through her characters, the upheavals and conflicts of the time are seen from several viewpoints bringing a better understanding of attitudes with which one may not necessarily sympathise.

    I found it a thoughtful and honest book, well-written and with a plot which kept my attention to the end.Buzby
    On Amazon UK 21 Jan 2016

  • … an excellent novel that illuminates the unsettled period … just before and after Zambia gained independence. Tensions were high as Rhodesia was still being fought over and the war of liberation spilt into southern Zambia and along the shores of the newly formed Lake Kariba. … grasps attention from the start … compelling characters draw the reader through the complexities of different races coming to terms with post-colonial society. A “must read” for all those who live there now, or were there in those exciting times.
    Montijo
    On Amazon UK 27 Jan 2014

The White and Black Blues

BY RUTH HARTLEY

This collection was released to coincide with the Marciac Jazz Festival 2016, as a free paperback to promote my novels. It contains the title story, selections from three novels and a memoir, another short story and a poem. It is now available to purchase on Kindle.

The title story, The White and Black Blues, tells how Tom Waller was born in the wrong skin in Africa. His friendship with black jazz musicians transforms his life, and takes him on a long journey away from his harsh father and their failing farm in Africa, but he must still discover who he really is “under his skin”. This story grew out of my memory of the visit of the great Louis Armstrong to Rhodesia in 1960 and the pleasure I have in jazz today.
Read Excerpt…

The White and Black Blues
by Ruth Hartley
— Book Cover

Video: SKOKIAAN by the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band 1947

video: Louis Armstrong – Skokiaan (1954) [Digitally Remastered]

When I was Bad

BY RUTH HARTLEY

The memoir of an exiled unmarried mother in London 1966 –1967

In the 1930s George Bernard Shaw’s black girl searches for God, but settles down in a garden with an Irish socialist. In 1966 I was the bad white girl who was a criminal according to the laws of South Africa.

Pregnant and afraid, I escaped to swinging London. There I found that being in love and learning how to be a loving mother and person was considerably more complicated than I had imagined . . .
Read Excerpt…

When I was Bad
Ruth Hartley, Rag Week 1964
Cape Town University

Video: South Africa newsreel 1966

Black and white image of a young woman in a striped t-shirt with baby in a cloth carrier on her back at at demonstration outside Marlborough House in London in 1966. She wears sunglasses and had her hair tied back. A policeman stands in the background next to a placard bearing the words SOUTH WEST AF...

The Drought Witch

BY RUTH HARTLEY

A story for children.

The evil Drought Witch swoops down on the farm that is Adam and Constance’s home. The crops fail and their father is bewitched. Afraid of being turned into mice and eaten, the children run away to search for the Wise Woman of the Garden. They ask the Wise Woman to help them fight the Drought Witch. On their quest they have many amazing adventures.

This is a magical story about brave children, trees and the importance of protecting the environment of Africa.
Read Excerpt…

Cover of The Drought Witch by Ruth Hartley

The Drought Witch
A Children’s Story
by Ruth Hartley
— Book Cover

The Drought Witch clutching the children

‘The Drought Witch tries to kill the children’ by Ruth Hartley

Rain Queen with children in tree

‘The children meet the Wise Woman’ by Ruth Hartley

Hannah’s Housekeeping

BY RUTH HARTLEY

Hannah Ball runs a bed and breakfast in her terrace home in a university town. She is divorced for the third time, her children have left home, she is broke and too old to get the kind of work she thinks she deserves.

Hannah has murder on her mind and her ex-husband is missing but, as she cleans up the dirt in her house, she finds herself wondering if she can keep death from her door.

Hannah’s Houskeeping
Montage by Ruth Hartley