A Woman of Cairo

A Woman of Cairo

I came across A Woman of Cairo by Noel Barber by accident, and given it covers Cairo in World War Two, a subject I am interested in, I decided to chance reading it. I am so glad I did – it was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read for ages.

It is at its heart a love story between the British protagonist Mark Holt, and his Egyptian childhood friend Serena Pasha, set against a fascinating historical backdrop, spanning 1919-1952. Both live gilded lives as the children of diplomats but are buffeted by history, as uprisings of Egyptian independence and then war threaten their loved ones and way of life. Serena is destined as a child to marry Mark’s brother Greg, despite her feelings. Love affairs, children and death all then conspire against her and Mark being together.

Meanwhile, assassination attempts abound, Kings are behaving very badly, German spies are on the loose, and murder charges are made. It is all meticulously researched and uses the author’s personal experiences, which bring the real historical characters and fictional ones to life.

This is 672 pages of sheer pleasure and I enjoyed every minute of it. Perfect holiday reading.