Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach is a fictional story that is based on true events that happened in the author’s life. The story introduces us to Elizabeth Booth from England who wants to travel and study Arabic. She works hard and ends up going to school in Syria. She falls in love with the people and the culture immediately. She even falls in love with a young man named Hussein. However, all is not what it seems. Hussein’s true intentions are revealed and now Elizabeth must watch her every step.
This book really dives deep into Syrian culture. It is obvious that the author is well versed in the language and loves the Syrian people. She discusses how accepting the Syrian people are and how much she enjoyed her studies. I loved that it felt like I was there. The descriptions of the people and the city are wonderful.
The book is a coming-of-age story with suspense and thriller themes. Unfortunately, the first half of the book goes at a very slow pace. The first half of the book goes over the daily life, background, and travels of Elizabeth and will switch back and forth. The second half is when the plot starts to quicken. The daily narrative and occasional diary entries often caused information to be repeated. The dialogue is also a little stiff. This made the flow of the story to be a little tedious at times. Overall, it is an eye-opening coming-of-age story. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. If you want to learn about different cultures with a little suspense, then this book is for you!!