Kensington, Feb 2009, $$14.00
In Mosul the al-Ghani family patriarch Tamir was a highly respected judge under the Hussein regime. A pragmatic moderate, he encouraged his children to be all they can be and urged his two daughters Fatima and Leila to obtain an education and encouraged them to dream. Leila wants to be a doctor and not forced into an unwanted marriage. When Saddam was deposed, he remained well respected and his family treated nicely though the income dropped radically.
However, when the photos of torture of Iraqis by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison are revealed, Tami becomes outraged by the affront to his people. As hostilities in Mosul make the city extremely dangerous for everyone, he demands that his daughters adhere to strict Muslim laws, is thankful to Allah that Fatima has a fiancé sensible Khaled and informs Leila he will arrange a marriage for her. Leila obtains work as a translator at the American military base’s hospital, but hides from her parents what she is doing even helping torture victims. Leila begins a relationship with Special Forces officer James Cartwright, but as Mosul explodes in violence she must choose between her father’s demands and what she believes is the right thing to do.
The well written forbidden romance between the American solider and the twenty-three years old Iraqi female takes a back seat to the incredible look at Mosul when the firefight ignited and united the city against the occupiers. The story line is deep as the audience obtains a poignant often depressing look at what the war has cost the locals. Readers will appreciate THE NIGHTINGALE as Morgana Gallaway provides an in depth tale of clashing cultures when war devastates Mosul and threatens every resident as none will come out of the conflict without some loss.