Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 27, 2007)
From the day she is born in Baghdad, Najila's life is defined by conflict. Her mother is a Muslim and her father the Greek Orthodox Byzantine ambassador to Persia, she must one day choose between their beliefs.
When her father dies is a tragic accident, seventeen-year-old Najila inherits his estate -- Hawk's Hill in Constantinople -- and something far more precious: his beautiful amber and silver cross. After her father's death, a bitter and grieving Najila leaves her home behind and sets out to claim her inheritance in Constantinople, a new and unfamiliar city where she finds many surprises waiting for her: an enemby, romance and a new life.
Leaving behind all she has ever know, Najila will be forever changed by Hawks Hill and her father's beloved cross as they push her to discover herself and finally come to terms with her faith.
C J Illinik wowed me with her historical knowledge. I almost felt like I was on horseback with Najila and company, or sitting in the lush gardens, or strolling through the busy streets of Constantinople.
The tale Najila is a story narrated omnisciently as Najila loses her mother at age four and beyond as Najila, at age sixty-nine, chooses to surprise the reader with a life change. Several storylines wind and weave covering land, war, politics, horses and faiths. History buffs should find the descriptions intriguinging. I can't imagine the amount of research Illinik invested in the story of Najila.
I did find it difficult to embrace the characters due to the time span. Those who devour character-driven fiction may feel the same frustration.