The Saffron Gate

Written by Linda Holeman
Review by Edward James

This book was a delightful surprise. I do not usually review romantic fiction, but this arrived just after I had sent out a batch of books for review, so I took it on for myself. It is most definitely a love story, with a lovelorn heroine on a quest to find her missing amour. But Sidonie O’Shea is no conventional romantic heroine, innocent, beautiful but feisty. She is innocent only because she is a polio victim, the product of an isolated, over-protected childhood in a poor immigrant family in upstate New York. Feisty she is not. However, she faces a daunting task, for her lover has gone missing in Morocco and she sets out to find him there. It is 1930, and Morocco has only recently been ‘pacified’ by the French: it is exotic and dangerous.

The Saffron Gate is about love and loneliness, betrayal and redemption, and also about culture shock and assimilation, physical handicap, colonialism, and above all about Morocco, its culture and its peoples. It is worth reading just as a travel book but read it also as a page-turning mystery story with an unusual denouement.