I’ve been reading again the last few weeks, something I really should do more of. I used to always have my nose in a book, but now trying to find time to escape into another world so completely when there are so many other demands on my time is just exhausting. I really do need to make more of an effort, though, because reading more (and widely) is one of the best, easiest, and most entertaining ways to improve my own writing.
With that in mind, behold the glory that is City of the Sun by Juliana Maio. This fantastic book is set in Cairo during WWII, which is one of my favorite periods to study, the Holocaust in particular. I love reading accounts of what it was like living under Nazi rule because it’s so different from what I know, and it terrifies me to think that people can be so horrible to each other.
But this book is a work of fiction; while real people appear in it, and similar events did take place, the author used them for her own purposes. From Goodreads:
Ambitious American journalist Mickey Connolly has come to Cairo to report on the true state of the war. Facing expulsion by the British for not playing by their rules, he accepts a deal from the U.S. embassy that allows him to remain in the country. His covert mission: to infiltrate the city’s thriving Jewish community and locate a refugee nuclear scientist who could be key to America’s new weapons program. But Mickey is not the only one looking for the elusive scientist. A Nazi spy is also desperate to find him–and the race is on. Into this mix an enigmatic young woman appears, a refugee herself. Her fate becomes intertwined with Mickey’s, giving rise to a story of passion, entangled commitments, and half-truths.
Once I started this story, I couldn’t put it down. Well, okay, I could, obviously, or it wouldn’t have taken me so long to finish it, but when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about it. Mickey and Maya wouldn’t leave me alone; they demanded I finish reading to see what happened. The romance was captivating, and the tension just kept ratcheting up the further I read. I noted some parallels between what happened in the Middle East 70-odd years ago and what is happening there today, which made the story all the more intriguing.
If you like historical fiction, and you like a good love story, and you’re looking for a thrill, then check out City of the Sun. It’s got all of that and more!
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