Winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2007.
A story that veers back and forth between war-time Cairo and Iris’ early life and the present, with Ruby, her somewhat mixed-up but feisty 17-year old granddaughter who has run away from England. With wonderful descriptions of the sounds, sights and smells of Cairo against a background of expatriate life and Rommel’s war, this is first rate, she is such a competent writer. It’s amazing how, having read Sun at Midnight, set in Antarctica, you can imagine her having spent years in cold climates, she now, one book later, comes up giving you the feeling that she has spent a lifetime in Africa.
Similar this month: None but try Victoria Routledge.
Comparison: Anita Shreve, Douglas Kennedy.
Fragility and forgetfulness have left 82-year-old Iris vulnerable and in the care of her manservant, Mamdooh. Stiflingly quiet and claustrophobic, Iris's house in old Cairo is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of her troubled and wilful granddaughter, Ruby. Labouring under a fraught relationship with her family, Ruby has run away from England to seek solace with the grandmother she hasn't seen for many years.
An unlikely bond arises as the two women open themselves up to one another. Ruby helps Iris document her deteriorating memories of the glittering, cosmopolitan Cairo of World War Two, a time when she lost her heart to her one true love - the enigmatic Captain Xan Molyneux - and then lost him to the ravages of the war.
This early devastation of Iris's heart shapes her life as well as that of her daughter and her granddaughter. It is this need to recover Iris's past and solidify Ruby's present that leads the two women into terrible danger in the Egyptian desert.
Rich and alive with descriptions of the bustling streets of Cairo and the vast, foreboding desert surrounding it, Iris and Ruby is a highly moving story spanning three generations of one family.
Closing date: 06/09/2018
‘Thomas can write with ravishing sensuality.’ - The Times
‘Her evocation of the wartime [Cairo] has all the raffish, glittering brittleness of life on the edge… touches on the varieties and nuances of love betweeen men and women, and the power of family relationships to enhance and destroy lives.’ - ELIZABETH BUCHAN, Daily Mail
‘Whether brilliantly conjuring the past - the colour and life of wartime Cairo, the loves and the losses, the friendships made and severed - portraying Lesley’s stifled life or capturing Ruby’s tangled emotions, Rosie Thomas creates unforgettable characters and settings. She’s a superb writer.’ - Choice Magazine
Publication date: 04/09/2006
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback (b Format)
|Publication date:||4th September 2006|
|Format:||Paperback (b Format)|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Historical Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Rosie Thomas is the author of a number of celebrated novels, including the bestsellers The Kashmir Shawl, Sun at Midnight, Iris and Ruby and Constance. Once she was established as a writer and her children were grown, she discovered a love of travelling and mountaineering. She has climbed in the Alps and the Himalayas, competed in the Peking to Paris car rally, spent time on a tiny Bulgarian research station in Antarctica and travelled the silk road through Asia. She lives in London. Author photo © Sven ArnsteinMore About Rosie Thomas