Durban author, Lishantha Govinthu, aka Shan Lee, will launch her debut novel Love Leiyah on November 1.
Durban author, Lishantha Govinthu, aka Shan Lee, will launch her debut novel Love Leiyah on November 1.

Dramatic debut tells of love in all its many guises

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Oct 24, 2020

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Durban - Set in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and London, the debut novel Love Leiyah by Durban author Lishantha Govinthu, under the pseudonym Shan Lee, explores love, family and boundaries in a classic story full of surprises.

The novel will be launched at the next Durban Book Fair at Mitchell Park on November 1, from 11am.

Speaking to the Independent on Saturday this week, Lee said she started the novel 10 years ago.

“When my first short story was published, I started playing around with writing, which was also a therapy for me while I was going through a divorce. I was exploring a whole lot of issues around love, from romantic love to family ties.

“I also took a trip to the Midlands and perhaps it’s something in the air, but it’s just magical and I decided to set my story there, where I did a lot of research for my book,” said Lee.

A fan of classics such as Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters, she decided her novel would follow the classic genre.

“I spent the last three years rewriting the book into the first person. I think it’s an incredible story full of romance and drama with some crazy twists which the reader would never expect. I would call it a modern classic,” she said.

Love Leiyah has been described as having an intriguing storyline with a dramatic start, captivating middle and a fascinating end.

The story starts in the Midlands and centres around the main character, Leiyah Kleinhans, whose life is core to the story, her beginnings in the Midlands and her journey to England, where she all but abandons her connection to South Africa.

“I didn’t want it to be full of political issues, but I did want it to be a true representation of life in South Africa,” said Lee, adding that the story comes full circle.

“For Leiyah, her homeland came calling and with this calling, came the message of what true love is all about,” she said.

Love Leiyah will launch at The Durban Book Fair, Mitchell Park, on Sunday, November 1, from 11am to 3pm. The book costs R280 and can also be bought at the Sherwood Book Store, Durban, and Bridge Books, Johannesburg, or go to www.madeinchatsworth.co.za (free delivery throughout SA); [email protected]; or online retailers.

The Independent on Saturday

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