But Melina was unable to shake off a sceptical reception in Rhodesia where the book was declared to be full of historical inaccuracies and her own wild imaginings, with possibly even some plagiarised sections. However, on the plus side, it remains one of the few first-hand accounts written by a woman who lived in that region of Africa and witnessed important events during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and it is still worth reading today for that background - albeit with the proverbial pinch of salt.
The book was republished as part of the Rhodesiana Reprint Library in 1971 with an even more florid title of Melina Rorke. Her Amazing Adventures in the Stormy Nineties of South Africa's History. Told by Herself.
Melina is reputed to have left Africa for the United States around 1908, where it is alleged she became an "actress" - not a choice career move for anyone wanting to avoid the dreaded "adventuress" tag. Her son Edgar was supposedly involved in the insurance industry, but what she was really doing those thirty years until she published her memoirs remains a mystery. This closing reference from the dust jacket of the 1971 edition:
"Melina carried on a correspondence with various members of her family in Rhodesia and South Africa until 1940 when a letter was returned marked "deceased". Her husband [Frederic Rorke] who went to Australia is said to have died there in the early 1920s.http://www.redcross.org.uk/ )
During 1950 and 1960 a number of Rhodesians who visited Rhodesia House in London met a Mrs Margaret Meredith who claimed she was Melina Rorke and that she had remarried twice. She died in March 1964, aged 98. Available evidence does not support her claim which serves only to heighten the mystery surrounding Melina Rorke after her departure from Rhodesia."
If Melina had to embroider or juicy up the facts of her life in order to sell a book at a profit many years later, she would only be doing what many people have resorted to since autobiography began.