Book Review: The Girls From Alexandria by Carol Cooper

‘Memories are fragile when you are seventy years old. I can’t afford to lose any more of them, not when remembering the past might help with the here and now.’

Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her.

Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.

Despite being told she’s ‘confused’ and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.

Set against the lush and glamorous backdrop of 20th century Alexandria, Carol Cooper’s The Girls from Alexandria is equal parts contemporary mystery and historical fiction: a re-coming of age story about family, identity, and homeland.

 

Nadia finds herself abandoned in a London hospital. She is having trouble remembering many things but the one thing she is sure about is that she needs to find her sister, Simone before it’s too late.

The problem is, she has not seen or heard from her sister in fifty years and the people around her are convinced that no such person exists.

As her current situation becomes more dire, Nadia becomes more determined. She begins to reflect on her past and the time she spent growing up with her family in Alexandria.

This book appealed to me. It’s historical fiction but has a mystery weaving through it which meant I kept wanting to turn the page, losing track of time in the process.

Immediately, I was drawn into Nadia’s story. How does a woman who grew up in Alexandria end up alone in a London hospital? I needed to know and was very intrigued by the thought. There is a real sense of tension all the way through.

I very quickly felt empathy for Nadia. This book draws a spotlight on what it must be like for so many elderly people – a situation that makes me incredibly sad. I feel that many people can relate not only to this but also to Nadia’s relationship with her sister.

This book is told from Nadia’s point of view and jumps between the present and her past growing up in Alexandria. The description and setting is so vivid, has much detail and is so beautifully written, I could imagine myself there and could fully immerse myself into Nadia’s world.

Nadia at the beginning of the book is such an innocent child but even then, there are plot elements that elude to darker events. Carol Cooper is good at mixing these with lighter moments to make a believable story.

There is not much else I can say without giving things away. I really do hope you give this book a read. It’s a unique story focusing on love, life and the importance of family. I loved it.

 

About Carol Cooper: 

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. Born in London, she was only a few months old when her cosmopolitan family took her to live in Egypt. She returned to the UK at eighteen and went to Cambridge University where she studied medicine and her fellow students.

On her path to a career in general practice, she worked at supermarket checkouts, typed manuscripts in Russian, and spent years as a hospital doctor.

Following a string of popular health books as well as an award-winning medical textbook, Carol turned to writing fiction.

Her first two novels were contemporary tales set in London. Ever a believer in writing what you know, she mined the rich material of her childhood for The Girls from Alexandria.

Carol lives with her husband in Cambridge and Hampstead. She has three grownup sons and three stepchildren.

Say hello to Carol via Twitter

The Girls From Alexandria was released in April 2021 by Agora Books. Click to view on Amazon UK

 

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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