The Nightingale

The Nightingale

by Morgana Gallaway

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Every day Leila al-Ghani spends in Mosul is a reminder of what her life once was. Before the war, she was the daughter of one of the city's finest families. She was encouraged by her parents to get an education, to think like a modern woman. But now, with Mosul crumbling around her, she is expected to strictly adhere to traditions, to dress modestly with the hijab covering her hair, and to be arranged in marriage.

Disobeying her domineering father and secretly taking a job as a translator at an American military base, Leila's beliefs are forever challenged when she meets a host of new people with different perspectives on the war--and the world. But it is Leila's friendship with Major James Cartwright that will test her courage in profound ways. And when she discovers those she loves are deeply entangled in the most violent, controversial aspects of the war, where she places her loyalties could cost Leila her life.

The Nightingale is a riveting debut that offers a rare glimpse into war-torn Iraq--where a spirited young woman must choose between honoring the customs of the past and her own hopes for the future. . .

"Morgana Gallaway has crafted a powerful story of one Iraqi woman's fight to keep her dreams alive even as her family, hometown, and country are being destroyed. There's a lot of truth in this work of fiction." --Laura Fitzgerald, author of Veil of Roses

"Gallaway's debut deftly captures a young woman's lonely battle for survival in a family and country abruptly shattered by war. The Nightingale is a poignant tale of family loyalty, taboo love and the ravages of war." --Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Dowry Bride

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758239921
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 02/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,020,814
File size: 617 KB

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Nightingale 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
pinkwater on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very well written. The voice of the main character, Leila, who was a 23 year-old Iraqi woman, was so real to the thoughts and feelings of an independent woman wanting to mark her own path in life, but hampered by cultural roadblocks. The information given in this book about the war in Iraq was very informative and I find myself understanding more references to the war now that I have read this book. I also enjoyed the love story between Leila and her man and appreciated the fact that the author kept this romance very clean and innocent...such a refreshing break from today's literature. My book club group of ladies aging from late twenties to early thirties found this book to be a great read and would definitely recommend it to others.
RTKC More than 1 year ago
Reading this book left a very bad taste in my mouth. The characters are nothing but shallow racist caricatures and the author forgoes delving into the social/political complexities behind the Iraq War so that its portrayal can be dumbed down into becoming a simple case of good vs. evil. The worst part is the underlying message behind this book, which is that a woman should give up everything for the sake of a man (who she doesn't even marry in the end). All in all the only thing worth recommending about this book is that you not waste your time reading it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These are very real characters you come to care about. A well developed story and good history lesson all in one...
loverofbooks5 More than 1 year ago
I thought it was written beautifully. From the moment I opened to the first page, I could not put it down. I strongly recommend this book to everyone!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Mosul the al-Ghani family patriarch Tamir was a highly respected judge under the Hussein regime. A pragmatic moderate, he encouraged his children to be all they can be and urged his two daughters Fatima and Leila to obtain an education and encouraged them to dream. Leila wants to be a doctor and not forced into an unwanted marriage. When Saddam was deposed, he remained well respected and his family treated nicely though the income dropped radically.

However, when the photos of torture of Iraqis by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison are revealed, Tami becomes outraged by the affront to his people. As hostilities in Mosul make the city extremely dangerous for everyone, he demands that his daughters adhere to strict Muslim laws, is thankful to Allah that Fatima has a fiancé sensible Khaled and informs Leila he will arrange a marriage for her. Leila obtains work as a translator at the American military base¿s hospital, but hides from her parents what she is doing even helping torture victims. Leila begins a relationship with Special Forces officer James Cartwright, but as Mosul explodes in violence she must choose between her father¿s demands and what she believes is the right thing to do.

The well written forbidden romance between the American solider and the twenty-three years old Iraqi female takes a back seat to the incredible look at Mosul when the firefight ignited and united the city against the occupiers. The story line is deep as the audience obtains a poignant often depressing look at what the war has cost the locals. Readers will appreciate THE NIGHTINGALE as Morgana Gallaway provides an in depth tale of clashing cultures when war devastates Mosul and threatens every resident as none will come out of the conflict without some loss.

Harriet Klausner