Foreword Reviews

Nad of Nadide

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Young lovers contend with cultural challenges in a time of turmoil in the historical romance novel Nad of Nadide.

In Wagih Abu-Rish’s passionate historical novel Nad of Nadide, young lovers are kept apart by political strife.

Ameer, Palestinian physician, met Fiona while both were training to be physicians in the US. They married and settled in London. They are sophisticated, and they work to honor their cultural values in a cosmopolitan milieu—as well as to reconcile their scientific rationality with cultural claims. Memorably, Fiona’s flirtatious humor works in concert with her adherence to virtue.

In the 1980s, the couple’s son, Fareed, is an engineering student. He struggles to understand how his love for science, his romantic desires, and his need to respect his traditions fit together. While nursing a heartbreak, he falls in love with Nadide on an airplane. But Nadide is torn between her love for Fareed and her desire to please her father, an embattled Turkish general who does not approve of her new relationship.

That Fareed’s parents’ stories are told first helps to set the central love story into context. It also hints at a parallel between the young couple’s romance and that of Fareed’s parents. Cultural conflicts are central to both stories, which also include themes of loyalty, romance, and the lust for power that infects rising dictators.

The book’s Muslim and Christian cast navigate faith within the contemporary world; their beliefs influence them in both positive and negative ways. Fareed and Nadide, like many of their generation, feel the strain of their conflicting desires and dreams, which deviate from the wishes of their parents. Fareed also deals with the fact that his ex-girlfriend used sex to persuade him toward Christianity; her parents were not accepting of their relationship either.

In the end, this is Fareed’s story most of all. All of its events are seen through his eyes. Nadide is a limited heroine; her characterization is filtered through Fareed, who describes her in rapturous language. As a result, she is idealized and unreal; her name, which translates to “rare,” amplifies the sense that she is a symbol first. And when it comes to tracking the secondary cast, the list of characters at the beginning of the book is helpful, although some of the character descriptions could be considered spoilers.

Nineteen-eighties London is described in detailed, vivifying terms, and Fareed and Nadide’s sympathetic love affair propels the story forward. The obstacles thrown in their way, as when when Nadide returns to Turkey, are suspenseful and involving, leading to questions about their ultimate fates and contributing to the book’s satisfying ending.

Young lovers contend with cultural challenges in a time of turmoil in the historical romance novel Nad of Nadide.

Reviewed by Matt Benzing

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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