This debut novel was such an intriguing read. Told in two narratives, and moving from past to present. this story presents the theme of culture clash from opposing viewpoints. The first voice is that of Eva English, who want to escape her family and the stifling culture of England in the early 1900’s. Under the guise of missionary, Eva decides to travel with her devout fragile sister Lizzie and her domineering mentor, Millicent. In actuality, Eva longs for adventure and hopes to write a book a riding your bicycle on the Silk Road. Needless to say, trying to convert Muslims to their religion is fraught with problems including house arrest and accusations of murder.
The second narrative, takes place in present day London and is the voice of Frieda, a young woman who travels the word as a Muslim studies researcher. Frieda lives a fairly lonely existence. One night after coming home from a trip to the Middle East, she discovers a young Yemeni man, Tayeb, sleeping outside her apartment. He is on the run from immigration police and has decided to camp outside her door. Frieda befriends him and he actually comes to her aid as she learns she has inherited the belongings of a woman she doesn’t know. How do these two stories intersect? The links between the two stories make for a fascinating tale.