Under Table Mountain

Under Table Mountain

by Nigel Patten

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The last decade of the 19th century were troubled years in South Africa. Tension between Britain and the two Boer republics, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, increased until war became inevitable. These turbulent times saw many notable figures pass through Cape Town, including Rudyard Kipling, Robert Baden-Powell, Jan Smuts and Cecil Rhodes. All of them would visit ‘Mon Desir’, the home of Sir Henry Juta, barrister and Speaker of the Cape House.

Under Table Mountain is the story of Louise Juta, the youngest of Sir Henry’s four daughters, from her birth until she left South Africa in 1904 to go to school in England and never return. It was in Switzerland that author Nigel Patten befriended Lady Luia Forbes, as she was then, during the last years of her long life. Visiting every day for games of Scrabble and conversation, Under Table Mountain is the result of Luia’s fascinating personal reminiscences.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013318175
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Publication date: 10/22/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 166
File size: 614 KB

About the Author

Nigel Patten was born in London and moved to Switzerland at the age of 21. He now resides at a ski resort not far from Montreux on Lake Geneva.

Inspired to write Under Table Mountain by his cherished friendship with Luia and a general love of history, Mr. Patten is currently at work on his next book, The Tide of Destiny, which explores the role of women as a source of inspiration for men. The author has published two other books with Strategic Book Publishing, The Hounds of Samaria (French translation Les Molosses de Samaria, Editions Persée, Paris) and The Winter Should Pass.


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Under Table Mountain 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Karen P. for Readers Favorite "Under Table Mountain" by Nigel Patten is a lovely historical account of the close of the nineteenth century in South Africa. As the story opens, Colonial Britain has ongoing conflict with the two Boar republics. Through the tension and turmoil of the Johannesburg and Capetown settings we meet the Juta family. Juta is a barrister and also the Speaker of the Cape House. As such, he entertains numerous celebrities and social figures in his home and, as a result, his youngest daughter Louise begins to formulate her own way of viewing traditional British royalty and privilege. When grown, Louise leaves South Africa to be educated in England. It is as an adult in her final years of life that she meets the author Nigel Patten. For countless days, Patten and Louise meet to play Scrabble and during their conversations, the author is able to piece together valuable parts of history and the events leading up to a dramatic change of government in South Africa. The book is highly scholarly and very well researched. The character development is such that readers will find themselves identifying with various factions of the political arena. The reader who sticks with this slightly pedantic novel will be delighted with their own historical education as well as the development of believable characters who firmly adhere to their convictions. Each character's motivation to carry through with his own values and moral judgments is clearly defined through historical decisions and personal turmoil. All in all,this is a wonderful study of colonial tradition versus the demands of the current society.