Every day Leila al-Ghani spends in Mosul is a reminder of what her life once was. Before the war, she was the daughter of one of the city’s finest families. She was encouraged by her parents to get an education, to think like a modern woman. But now, with Mosul crumbling around her, she is expected to strictly adhere to traditions, to dress modestly with the hijab covering her hair, and to be arranged in marriage.
Disobeying her domineering father and secretly taking a job as a translator at an American military base, Leila’s beliefs are forever challenged when she meets a host of new people with different perspectives on the war–and the world. But it is Leila’s friendship with Major James Cartwright that will test her courage in profound ways. And when she discovers those she loves are deeply entangled in the most violent, controversial aspects of the war, where she places her loyalties could cost Leila her life.
The Nightingale is a riveting debut that offers a rare glimpse into war-torn Iraq–where a spirited young woman must choose between honoring the customs of the past and her own hopes for the future.
“Morgana Gallaway has crafted a powerful story of one Iraqi woman’s fight to keep her dreams alive even as her family, hometown, and country are being destroyed. There’s a lot of truth in this work of fiction.” — Laura Fitzgerald, author of Veil of Roses
“Gallaway’s debut deftly captures a young woman’s lonely battle for survival in a family and country abruptly shattered by war. The Nightingale is a poignant tale of family loyalty, taboo love and the ravages of war.” — Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Dowry Bride