Take a Sneak Peek at Gina Wilkinson’s Wonderful Debut, When the Apricots Bloom

Take a Sneak Peek at Gina Wilkinson’s Wonderful Debut, When the Apricots Bloom

Basra Province, 1978

Huda fished the knife from the pocket of her long apricot dress. Rania eyed the jambiya’s sharp tip and buffalo-horn handle and grinned in approval.

“That’s perfect for our oath.” Rania’s amber eyes dilated with a jittery mix of fear and anticipation. “It’s even better than the knife in the American movie.”

“Last week, I saw a real American. A woman,” said the younger girl proudly. “She was on the corniche, eating ice cream and watching the boats.”

“I’ve seen plenty of foreign women in Baghdad,” said her fourteen-year-old companion, not to be outdone. “Teachers and nurses, mostly. They like to picnic by the Tigris.”

“Do you think they’ve ever sworn an oath like this?” Huda stared up at Rania. She’d grown taller and slimmer in the three months she’d been away at the prestigious Baghdad Ladies High School. Huda felt dowdy beside her, even in her favourite dress.

“What should we say?” she asked.
Rania eyed the double-bladed knife in Huda’s hand. The ivory handle was stained from years of use. She took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders.

“Today we vow to be blood sisters,” she intoned. “Closer than sisters from the same womb.”

Impressed, Huda nodded and repeated the pledge. The two girls added a promise of loyalty and to come to one another’s aid whenever called.

“Don’t forget about secrets,” said Huda. “We mustn’t keep se- crets from each other.”

Rania paused, then pressed her hand to her heart. “No secrets.”

“What’s the punishment for breaking a blood oath?” asked Huda.

Rania consulted the cloudless sky, its blue so perfect it could break a heart.

“If the blood oath is broken,” she declared theatrically, “then the penalty is sorrow.”

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Reviews

Iraq, PTSD, and Female Friendships: A Fascinating Q&A with When the Apricots Bloom Author Gina Wilkinson

Review | Author Related

4 January 2021

Iraq, PTSD, and Female Friendships: A Fascinating Q&A with When the Apricots Bloom Author Gina Wilkinson

    An Evocative, Suspenseful Debut: Read our Review of When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson

    Review | Our Review

    1 January 2021

    An Evocative, Suspenseful Debut: Read our Review of When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson

      Publisher details

      When the Apricots Bloom
      Author
      Gina Wilkinson
      Genre
      Fiction
      Released
      02 February, 2021
      ISBN
      9781496729354

      Synopsis

      Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein's rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson's evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium. A secretary, an artist and a diplomat's wife, each must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under the rule of a dictator and his ruthless secret police... 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 mukhabarat--the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador's wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenage son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own. Huda's former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania too 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.
      Gina Wilkinson
      About the author

      Gina Wilkinson

      Books by Gina Wilkinson

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