Written by C.J. Illinik
Review by Heather Domin

Najila is the daughter of a Persian Muslim princess and a Byzantine Orthodox diplomat in 11th-century Baghdad. Orphaned at the age of seventeen, she leaves her childhood home to inherit her father’s estate in Constantinople. In this new world many obstacles confront her: the struggles of a female landowner, the integration of two cultures, an unexpected romance, and the decision of which spiritual path to embrace. What follows is a tale of discovery, love, adventure, and faith.

The prose is so ornate as to be flowery; this serves the novel’s exotic locales, but at times it weighs down the flow and makes dialogue feel somewhat stilted. Muslim characters are not portrayed in the most flattering light, but then neither are many of the Christians. However, the historical research is meticulous and the descriptions rich and vibrant; the writer is clearly passionate about her time period and settings while keeping her plot within genre traditions. For fans of inspirational romance, Najila will be an absorbing and captivating choice.