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Virgins of Paradise


Sensuous .... richly layered ... This sprawling tale delivers romance and adventure in imaginative style.   Publishers Weekly


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Virgins of Paradise

"According to legend, there once lived a sect of holy men from Arabia who roamed the desert and countryside, completely naked. Wherever the men traveled, women flocked to them because it was believed that making love to the men, or even touching them, cured wives of barrenness and assured virgins of finding virile husbands."

"One day one of these holy men visited a palm grove on the outskirts of Cairo, where he blessed a hundred women in the course of just three days, after which he died. Witnesses declared that Allah's dark-eyed virgins, whom the Koran promises to Believers as their heavenly reward, came down from the sky and lifted the holy man up to Paradise.

"Four hundred years later, when the British, who were occupying Egypt, built their mansions in a newly created district in Cairo called Garden City, they decided to reclaim this legend by naming one small, crescent-shaped street Virgins of Paradise."

Virgins of Paradise is a saga about the women who are members of a wealthy, aristocratic family who resides in a beautiful mansion on Virgins of Paradise Street. Jasmine and Camelia Rasheed come of age amid the glamour and elegance of postwar Cairo, where women still wear the veil and live in harems. Under the watchful eyes of their grandmother and the other women in the prominent Rasheed family, Camelia and Jasmine grow up, and as Egypt begins to change, so do they.

Rebelling against a society in which the suppression of women is assumed, Jasmine and Camelia embark on turbulent personal and professional voyages of discovery: Jasmine, cast out of the family, goes to America to become a doctor, while Camelia sets out to become one of the foremost dancers in the Middle East.

Sensuous, spicy, suspenseful, romantic, Virgins of Paradise is a spellbinding novel set in an exotic and erotic culture. The story of a family in search of identity amid historic change, it also conveys a portrait of an ancient nation, mired in superstition, magic, and mythology, as it emerges into the modern era.

What the critics say:

"Powerful ... remarkable ... should be a bestseller!"  - Detroit Free Press

"Exotic and erotic.... a story of intense emotion and great complexity ... you must read it!" - Tulsa World

"Fascinating ... Wood uses her keen eye for detail and her lush prose to let the culture speak for itself." - Houston Post

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Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Wood. All rights reserved.