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Virgins of Paradise
     

Virgins of Paradise

4.5 12
by Barbara Wood
 

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A magnificent coming-of-age saga about two sisters from an aristocratic Egyptian family who rebel against tradition.

Inside a beautiful mansion on Virgins of Paradise Street in post-World War II Cairo, Jasmine and Camelia Rasheed grow to womanhood under the watchful eyes of their grandmother and the other women of the prominent Rasheed family. Despite the glamour

Overview

A magnificent coming-of-age saga about two sisters from an aristocratic Egyptian family who rebel against tradition.

Inside a beautiful mansion on Virgins of Paradise Street in post-World War II Cairo, Jasmine and Camelia Rasheed grow to womanhood under the watchful eyes of their grandmother and the other women of the prominent Rasheed family. Despite the glamour and elegance of the city, women still wear the veil and live in harems. But as Egypt begins to change, so do Jasmine and Camelia. Rebelling against a society in which the suppression of women is assumed, Jasmine and Camelia embark on turbulent personal and professional voyages of discovery. Cast out of the family, Jasmine travels to America to become a doctor while Camelia sets out to become one of the foremost beledi dancers in the Middle East.

Sensuous, spicy, and romantic, Virgins of Paradise is a spellbinding novel set in an exotic and erotic culture. Brilliantly portraying two sisters' search for identity amidst historic change, Wood also conveys a portrait of an ancient nation merging into the modern era while mired in superstition, magic, and mythology.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Fascinating…Wood uses her keen eye for detail and her lush prose to let the culture speak for itself."Houston Post

"Powerful…remarkable." Detroit Free Press

 "A story of intense emotion and great complexity…you must read it!" — Tulsa World

"A master storyteller. She never fails to leave the reader enthralled." —Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means

“An accomplished storyteller.” —John Jakes, New York Times bestselling author
 
“Wood shows herself a wizard at juggling action and romance, maintaining the momentum and sparkle of both.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Wood makes her fiction come alive with authentic detailing and highly memorable characters.” —Booklist

“Barbara Wood is an entertainer.” —Washington Post Book World
 
“Wood crafts vivid sketches of women who triumph over destiny.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Entertainment fiction at its best.” —Booklist
 
“Wood creates genuine, engaging characters whose stories are fascinating.” —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the author of The Dreaming comes this multilayered historical saga of two sisters rebelling against Egyptian social tradition. (Dec.)
Library Journal
As young girls from the upper-class Rasheed family in Cairo, Jasmine and Camelia are carefully schooled in Egyptian ritual by their enigmatic grandmother. As they mature and break away from strict Muslim custom, they are catapulted in unorthodox directions. To the family's horror, Camelia becomes an exotic dancer. At the age of 16, Jasmine is married off to her cousin, who abuses her physically and psychologically. When he divorces her after a rape scandal, Jasmine is banished and forced to leave her children behind. She pursues her dream of becoming a doctor and only returns to Cairo when mysteriously summoned by her grandmother. Author of The Dreaming (Random, 1991) and Green City in the Sun (Fawcett, 1989), Wood has once again written a too-long novel with a large cast of characters. Recommended for fans of Wood and readers who love protracted tales. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/93.-- Mary Ellen Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Kirkus Reviews
Nearly five crisis-packed decades in the lives of traditionally reared Egyptian women—complete with all the makings of a possible bestseller: a smooth-as-silk narration, a graceful approximation of the ritual concerns and courtesies of another culture, a few fightin' female hearts within the bonds of womanly repression, and the inevitable scandals, secrets, and forbidden loves within an upper-caste Cairo household. Heading the women's household of Dr. Ibraham Rasheed is his stately mother, Amira, whose firm upholding of the old ways of complete female subservience has had something to do with her past—an early trauma not revealed until the close. In 1945, when the story begins, Ibraham, distraught at the death of his young wife in childbirth, curses God—but even more terrible is not being able to satisfy his dead father by siring a son. Ibraham adopts a baby boy, but fathers only daughters—among them his favorites, Yasmina, by his blond English wife Alice, and Camelia by his first wife. Meantime, Ibraham is personal physician to King Farouk, forced to abdicate in 1952, and is jailed for treason, while Amira raises and presides over her women, arranging marriages and comforting; eventually, it is she who not only obtains Ibraham's release but exposes a family enemy. Along the way, Yasmina, in a brutal and loveless marriage, is banished because—in a heroic effort to save the family—she is raped and thereby "dishonors" that family; and Camelia, sterile because of a face-saving operation, studies dancing with the famous Dahiba (another banished victim of "honor"). Yasmina travels to California, becomes a doctor, marries, divorces, and finds true love, whileat home there's a cholera epidemic, tragic and violent deaths, sad and happy pairings, and a few valiant stirrings of the female wish for liberation. A warmly gossipy family tale in an exotic setting—and, like most of Wood's novels (The Dreaming, 1991, etc.), spun off with ease and apparent pleasure in the telling. (First printing of 100,000)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596528611
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Pages:
486
Sales rank:
564,610
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Fascinating…Wood uses her keen eye for detail and her lush prose to let the culture speak for itself."Houston Post

"Powerful…remarkable." Detroit Free Press

 "A story of intense emotion and great complexity…you must read it!" — Tulsa World

"A master storyteller. She never fails to leave the reader enthralled." —Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means

“An accomplished storyteller.” —John Jakes, New York Times bestselling author
 
“Wood shows herself a wizard at juggling action and romance, maintaining the momentum and sparkle of both.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Wood makes her fiction come alive with authentic detailing and highly memorable characters.” —Booklist

“Barbara Wood is an entertainer.” —Washington Post Book World
 
“Wood crafts vivid sketches of women who triumph over destiny.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Entertainment fiction at its best.” —Booklist
 
“Wood creates genuine, engaging characters whose stories are fascinating.” —Library Journal

Meet the Author

BARBARA WOOD is the international bestselling author of twenty-five acclaimed novels, including New York Times bestseller Domina. Her work has been translated into over 30 languages. Barbara lives in California.

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Virgins of Paradise 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
RosieBird More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it was published over a decade ago as "Virgins of Paradise Street." The confirmation of a GOOD book is that you remember it years later. I've never forgotten the basic plot or the emotion it evoked in me. I decided to try to find it again and was happy to see the author is making it available as "Virgins of Paradise." Although the title and cover don't appeal to me, the book itself is a great read and a way to better understand Muslim women. I'm so grateful to be born in the U.S.A. and married to an American man! You'll understand after reading the book. It's better than "The Kite Runner!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. It has been several years since I read it but, I remember it has a lasting affect on how I view women & men in other cultures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting enjoyable and I learned something about the recent history of Egypt. An intellegent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book as a recommendation after having read Alice Hoffman's book 'The Dovekeepers'. I wasn't sure what to expect, and this story did not disappoint! The settings were well crafted and beautiful, the characters were well developed. I really enjoyed the weaving and interweaving of so many lives and stories passing through the different generations, each with unique and contemplative perspective that helped create the rich tapestry of a family identity within its individual and collective transformation in a sociological context-- particularly with respect to the changing landscape of women's roles and identity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Talks of a beautiful culture
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and interesting read and characters. Sometimes it jumped around a bit much but that might have been my nook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago