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A blonde, chic Parisienne, Françoise never expected to find herself living on a South African game reserve. But when she fell in love with renowned conservationist Lawrence Anthony her life took an unexpected turn. Lawrence died in 2012 and Françoise was left to face the tough reality of running Thula Thula, his private game reserve in South Africa, without him, even though she knew very little about conservation. She was short on money, poachers were capitalizing on the chaos of Lawrence's death, and one of their elephants was charging Land Rovers on game drives and terrifying guests. There was no time to mourn when Thula Thula's human and animal family were depending on her.
Their elephant herd, rescued by Lawrence, shared Françoise's grief at his passing but over time forged a new relationship with her. One day a baby, Tom, became separated from the herd and found his way into Françoise's kitchen and there was a desperate race against time to save another baby who had a snare wrapped round his face and couldn't open his mouth to suckle. Meanwhile, Françoise worked to create a rescue centre for orphaned rhinos. She also took on abandoned hippo baby Charlie who hated water and a German Shepherd called Duma who became an unlikely nursemaid, coach and best friend to all the traumatised rhino, hippo and elephant babies. How Françoise survived and Thula Thula thrived is beautifully described in this charming, funny and poignant book.
Françoise Malby-Anthony was born in the South of France, brought up in Paris and has lived in South Africa since 1987. She founded the Thula Thula game reserve in 1998 with her late husband, the renowned conservationist and bestselling author Lawrence Anthony. When Lawrence died in 2012, Francoise took over the running of the reserve and is equally passionate about conservation. She was the driving force behind setting up a wildlife rehabilitation centre at the reserve to care for orphaned animals.
Katja Willemsen was born in Holland, grew up in South Africa and now lives in France. A full-time writer, she is the author of the thriller Shepherd's Prayer. An Elephant in My Kitchen is her first work of non-fiction.