Inshallah by Sybil Powell
Jinnya a wilful but otherwise a conventional Saudi girl had her life turned upside down at Abba airport when she admired an English expatriate, Mark Maxwell. Through a series of fateful situations they meet and fall in love, breaking the civil and religious laws of the country. Fighting against all the difficulties they plan their future together, only to be discovered by her brother. He has the agonising task of choosing between his religion and his sister and to a faceoff with Mark his friend. Eventually deciding for his sister he is now set against his father who is of an older generation with strongly held religious views.
Originally written in 1978 it is of that time when Saudi Arabia had recently become a united country but a country of contrasts, between the more and less religious elements, between the rich and the poor, between a desire to modernise and a desire to maintain the discipline of the old. This forms the background to the novel and highlights the challenges facing the young couple.
The end leaves the reader to make up their own mind as to rights and wrongs of the tale.
The airhostess shivered from the drop in temperature although it was very warm after the uncomfortable searing heat in Jidda, she could feel the difference. “I hope you enjoyed your flight. Goodnight,” she said smiling with automatic politeness as the passengers filed past wrestling with their bags before descending the steps to the tarmac. Relieved the trip was over she glanced at the last few stragglers wishing they would hurry up. Tonight the short internal flight from Jidda to Abha had been anything but enjoyable, the first-class passengers always expected plenty of attention but for some unknown reason they had been exceptionally demanding. To make matters worse the aircraft had rocked violently through bad turbulence over the mountains, upsetting the more nervous travellers.
“Can I help you?” She stepped forward to help the last passenger who was wrestling with a couple of vanity cases and many carrier bags.
“Thank you I can manage,” came the soft but determined reply.
She stood back patiently while the woman began to organise her luggage; her family had already disembarked a few minutes earlier leaving her to cope with most of their bits and pieces. The airhostess was interested in every passenger, it was an essential part of her job to observe people individually. This woman like all the women of her country was dressed in purdah, a long black cloak that covered her body, her veil had hung loosely over her face during the flight. In the cabin light she had estimated the lady was young and obviously very beautiful. Her hands and nails, the only part of her body showing, were immaculate, the restrained show of jewellery suggested a very confident, educated woman and yet she had an air of youthful excitement about her. The airhostess often speculated on the lives of passengers, what happened to them after they had left the aircraft wondering if she would ever see them again. The black clad figure giving a final adjustment to her veil, was no exception, this young lady’s future would be beyond the airhostess’s wildest speculations.
About Sybil Powell:
I’m Sybil Powell, wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, traveler and now an author of books which reflect many of those life experiences.
I spent most of my childhood in a seaside resort town on the south coast of my native England. Eastbourne was a wonderful place to grow up, but sheltered just enough to make me want to go out and spread my wings and see what the rest of the world had to offer! That adventure started after I married a wonderful, young serviceman. After settling into life in the forces, we moved to Germany where we lived for a couple of years. On returning to England and civilian life, we settled in the north where I found work in the more heavily industrialized world of Yorkshire. Very different from the life I had known in a seaside resort!
I loved living in and learning about the lifestyles in different parts of England, but my education really expanded when we moved half the world away to Saudi Arabia. The contrast between the coastal mountain areas and the inland, desert cities along with the rich culture and traditions going back literally thousands of years, is something which has affected my life and my writing ever since.
Eventually we bid ‘Adieu’ to those exotic, arid lands and returned to the UK. Back home again, I started my own business—a secretarial agency which provided companies with the then-fledgling service of a virtual assistant.
We’ve now moved again and this time to Wales, where I’ve settled into my writing career, and very happily draw on my many experiences both at home and abroad. Because those experiences have been so diverse, my books tend to be very different from each other and stand on their own- in plot, characters, culture and background.
I decided to purchase this book after reading the description and blurb. It really reminded me of some of the older Harlequins, which were some of the first romances I ever read. I still adore these to this day! Inshallah is very creatively written, with a plot that took me right into the heart of the heroine. This book will leave you with a wide range of emotions. It kept me guessing, right until the end. It is not just a romance. Inshallah is so much more, with a detailed look into a courtship with mountains so high, they seem impossible to cross. I will definitely be reading this again.
See my review on Amazon!