“Najila” by C. J. Illinik is a sequel to another book called “The Tablets of Ararat.” (I haven’t read the first book yet.) In the story, Najila, her Christian father and Muslim grandmother leaves Baghdad to return to Constantinople. Young and spoiled, Najila has only known Baghdad as her home and has no desire to go to the strange Christian city Constantinople. But her father has decided upon their return to his estate and along the long journey, trouble arises and Najila becomes orphan. When they arrive in Constantinople at her father’s estate that she inherited, her life changes drastically.
I was so excited when I found this book on the bottom row of my sister’s bookshelf. I had never heard of a Christian Fiction story set in Baghdad, and thought it would be the perfect addition to my “Around The World In 80 Books” reading challenge. Of course, most of the book was set in Constantinople, but I was still eager to dig into a book where a girl had both Christian and Muslim ties in her family. It was kind of interesting, but I found the writing style wasn’t my favorite. It was one of those stories that didn’t seem to have a “story.” Though we walk through Najila’s whole life – from teenager to elderly widow – I didn’t feel that there was a real plot that kept the story flowing from one chapter to the next. While the book wasn’t awful, I did feel a little disappointed in the lack of suspense and purpose in the book. Maybe this story would be recommendable to folks who prefer books without a lot of romance, or, a really low key plot.