Sibylla is the kind of protagonist who is easy to identify with on her journey from sheltered, somewhat spoiled English heiress to savvy Middle Eastern business magnate, who gains confidence as she smashes norms and disregards the expectations of her disapproving husband and fellow expatriates. Leaving behind her white-gloved Downton Abbey-esque London world of picnics and cricket matches to embrace the colourful, comfortable flowing garments and kohl eye make-up worn by local Moroccan women, Sibylla comes into her own, discovering that what is ‘foreign’ may be more true to herself than what is familiar—and that what is familiar may actually be sinister.
Bestselling German author Julia Drosten makes her debut in English with this novel, which transports us to an environment of minarets, dates, henna, oranges, lemons, amber, nutmeg and couscous, where the open horizon holds endless opportunity and a considerable amount of peril.
At every step I cheered Sibylla’s discovery of her new world and her new self. Your inner nineteenth-century heroine may well do the same!
- Elizabeth DeNoma, Editor