No More Lonely Nights – based on a true story

NO MORE  LONELY NIGHTS is the name of my second published novel, to be available in e-format next week.  It is based on the lives of my mother and grandmother, which were far more interesting than anything I could dream up.

My mother was born in Cairo, Egypt, into a French-Italian family.  Egypt of the early 20th century was run by Europeans.  There was an Egyptian monarchy, but the kings were pretty much figureheads. The British controlled most of the Middle East, and what they didn’t control was run by the French.

For Europeans in North Africa, life could be lavish.  Servants were very inexpensive, and all but the servant classes — including Egyptians — had servants of their own. My cousin, who is only 60, recalls Egyptian fathers going door-to-door in upper middle-class neighborhoods trying to sell their daughters.  This is not a politically correct thing to say, but it is the truth.

When World War II came to North Africa, my mother went to work for the Royal Air Force, and fell in love with a British officer.  My book begins there, and moves on to her life in America.  I wish I could say that the ending is what happened in real life, and I wish I could say that her profession was as exciting as that in the book, but, alas…

After World War II, in 1952, there was a revolution in Egypt, a military coup d’etat, which abolished the Egyptian monarchy and the aristocracy, as well as ending British governance.  The same Muslim Brotherhood you read about now was instrumental in all the North African revolutions that ended Europe’s domination of the region.

My book describes, on a personal level, what it was like for Europeans to live through this period of turmoil.   My family had to flee Egypt, leaving behind almost everything of value.  The Europeans who fled Egypt were not aristocrats, but professionals:  bankers, doctors, merchants.

North Africa is independent now, and I am sure most Arabs are happy to be rid of the Europeans. The early 20th century in Egypt was probably a lot like the pre-Civil War South:  gracious and magical for the privileged, miserable for those who served them, and destined to end badly.

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