4.5 19
by Consuelo Saah Baehr

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this sweeping, uncommonly stirring narrative spanning 1883 to 1957, Baehr chronicles the lives of three Palestinian Christian womenMiriam Mishwe, her daughter Nadia and Nadia's adopted child, Nijmeheach fated to struggle with the competing claims of loyalty to family and love for a man. Growing up in the Palestinian village of Tamleh, near Jerusalem, Miriam submits to an arranged marriage with her cousin, Nadeem. Though her feelings for him deepen, he is conscripted by the Turks, and in his absence Miriam becomes passionately involved with Max Broder, a German physician whom she reluctantly leaves when Nadeem returns, badly injured. Miriam bears Max's child, Nadia, who also grows up to fall in love with a foreigner, but their romance, in turn, is thwarted by Miriam's vehement disapproval. The cycle continues with the orphaned Nijmeh, rescued from a plane wreck by Nadia, but Nadia's interference in her daughter's life results in terrible upheaval and tragedy. Of Palestinian Christian descent herself, Baehr writes grippingly of the clash between 20th century values and the traditions of a proud, ancient land. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
A small Christian village outside of Jerusalem provides the backdrop for this novel about three generations of Arab women. The story begins at the turn of the century with the marriage of Miriam Mishwe to Nadeem, a man chosen by her family. Though they are happy together, during World War I Miriam has a poignant love affair with a German doctor. Nadia, the product of their union, is willful, questioning the old ways, but nonetheless follows tradition by marrying a sheik's son. Their daughter Nijmeh is sweet and kind, bringing her parents great joy, but she is not as lucky as Nadia in love; her marriage, though a brilliant match, is loveless. Engaging and well written, this novel effectively portrays the importance of family and the conflict of cultures in the Middle East. Maria A. Perez-Stable, Western Michigan Univ. Libs., Kalamazoo

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Random House Publishing Group
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