Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Book review: Parade of Shadows by Gloria Whelan

Parade of Shadows by Gloria Whelan (Published by HarperCollins, October 16, 2007)

It's 1907, and sixteen-year-old Julia Hamilton lives an uneventful life in London, though she dreams of seeing distant places and having exciting adventures. Her mother died of an illness when Julia was very young and her father is often traveling in his work for the British Foreign Office. When she learns her father is to take a trip to the Middle East, she begs to come along, and to her delight, her father agrees.

On the journey, Julia befriends Graham Geddes, a handsome young student from Oxford whom she learns is to be part of their tour group. Graham shows her the sights of the exotic city of Beirut - and also awakens her to the political unrest in the region. Graham is sympathetic to the Young Turks, who wish to reform the Ottoman Empire, a position Julia's father strongly disagrees with. Julia is attracted to Graham but feels torn between him and her father. Their fellow travelers, and even their tour guide, seem to have hidden motives as well.

Parade of Shadows was another excellent historical novel with a unique setting by Gloria Whelan. Julia was a wonderful character - she starts out as a sheltered young girl, but during her journey she matures and becomes more aware of the world around her. In light of the current situation in the Middle East, it seemed particularly relevant to read about the political unrest that existed there a hundred years ago. I'd highly recommend this book to young adult readers who enjoyed the author's previous novels or who enjoy historical fiction

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