When the apricots bloom A novel

Gina Wilkinson, 1970-

Book - 2021

At night, in Huda's fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat'the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador's wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant..., but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own. Huda's former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women's lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

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FICTION/Wilkinso Gina
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Wilkinso Gina Due Jun 30, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Novels
Published
New York : Kensington Publishing [2021]
Language
English
Item Description
Includes discussion questions.
Physical Description
312 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781496729354
1496729358
Main Author
Gina Wilkinson, 1970- (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In Wilkinson's vivid debut, set in early 2000s Baghdad, secrets and lies mingle as easily as the scent of apricot blossoms and nargilah smoke. Huda, a secretary to the Australian deputy ambassador to Iraq, is forced by the secret police to become an informant on Ally Wilson, the ambassador's wife, or risk her son's forced recruitment into the deadly fedayeen, the militia led by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday. Meanwhile, Ally, whose presence in Iraq is motivated by a search for answers about her long-dead American mother, strikes up an acquaintance with Rania, Huda's estranged childhood friend. When Rania's daughter draws the attention of Uday's cronies, Rania and Huda form a reluctant alliance and later rope in Ally, whose own safety is imperiled due to her being part American, to help protect their families. While the denouement is somewhat abrupt, Wilkinson weaves in the miasma of fear and distrust that characterized Hussein's regime with convincing detail ("Two can keep a secret only when one of them is dead," a character remarks sardonically). Scenes from Iraqi life—paying for work with food items, or snacking on "counterfeit ‘Keet Katts'?"—offer a glimpse into a country crippled by economic sanctions. The richly drawn characters and high-stakes plot are enough to compensate for the minor shortcomings. Agent: Heather Jackson, Heather Jackson Literary. (Feb.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Three very different women navigate the complexities of trust, friendship and motherhood in turn-of-the-millennium Iraq, in a debut novel inspired by the author’s experiences as an award-winning foreign correspondent in Baghdad during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Three very different women navigate the complexities of trust, friendship and motherhood in turn-of-the-millennium Iraq, in a debut novel inspired by the author's experiences as an award-winning foreign correspondent in Baghdad during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

At night, in Huda's fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat--the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador's wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own. Huda's former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women's lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“Breathtaking…Riveting and profound! I adored this book!” —Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector “A deeply involving and important novel by a master storyteller.”—Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling authorINTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERIn this moving, suspenseful debut novel, three courageous women confront the complexities of trust, friendship, motherhood, and betrayal under the rule of a ruthless dictator and his brutal secret police. Former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson draws on her own experiences to take readers inside a haunting story of Iraq at the turn of the millennium and the impossible choices faced by families under a deadly regime.A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Historical Fiction ReleaseA Target Book Club PickA Publishers Marketplace Buzz Books Selection At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat—the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.   Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.  “Vivid…secrets and lies mingle as easily as the scent of apricot blossoms and nargilah smoke. Wilkinson weaves in the miasma of fear and distrust that characterized Hussein’s regime with convincing detail. Richly drawn characters and high-stakes plot.” —Publishers Weekly

Review by Publisher Summary 5

“Breathtaking…Riveting and profound! I adored this book!” —Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector “A deeply involving and important novel by a master storyteller.”—Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling authorINTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERIn this moving, suspenseful debut novel, three courageous women confront the complexities of trust, friendship, motherhood, and betrayal under the rule of a ruthless dictator and his brutal secret police. Former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson draws on her own experiences to take readers inside a haunting story of Iraq at the turn of the millennium and the impossible choices faced by families under a deadly regime.A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Historical Fiction ReleaseA Target Book Club PickA Publishers Marketplace Buzz Books Selection At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat—the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.   Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.   “Vivid…secrets and lies mingle as easily as the scent of apricot blossoms and nargilah smoke. Wilkinson weaves in the miasma of fear and distrust that characterized Hussein’s regime with convincing detail. Richly drawn characters and high-stakes plot.” —Publishers Weekly