An evocative, unputdownable novel of three women in Baghdad
What would you do if the secret police demanded you spy on a friend in order to protect your family? Three women confront the complexities of trust, friendship and motherhood under the rule of a dictator in this debut inspired by the author's own experiences in Iraq.
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 secret police, who have ordered her to befriend Ally, the deputy ambassador's wife.
Huda's former friend Rania, an artist, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania 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.
Transporting readers to one of the world's most legendary cities, with mouth-watering cuisine, incredible history, a surprising art scene and bustling book markets, Gina Wilkinson's suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women confronting the limits of friendship and forgiveness, and the strength of a mother's love.