Tree of Pearls
There are many kinds of love: love for the glamorous stranger, love of a child, love that keeps things safe and well, love that transcends race, love that pushes you off the roof of an Egyptian temple...
Angeline is back home, safe and well in her own bath - she thinks. But trouble hasn't finished with her yet - in which case trouble had better watch out, because she hasnt finished with it either. There's trouble in the form of her old enemy, the slippery lovesick gangster Eddie Bates - and his alcoholic wife. There's trouble with Harry the cop, who she's known forever, father of her child, and with Sa'id the alabaster merchant, who her heart won't forget, also - as it turns out - the father of her child.
Back in Luxor, a series of emotional chicanes and political realities threaten Angeline's determination to protect her daughter and make things as right as she can, until, in the words of the Daily Mail: 'beneath the scorching desert sun, this tangled web finally resolves itself'.
From the press:
'Exceptional - Louisa Young has written about love - mother love, tender love, passionate love - better than anyone else' - The Big Issue
'Urban thriller, epic romance, exotic travelogue? Louisa Young's swashbuckling heroine Evageline Gower is a world away from the girlie singletons of mainstream fiction. Confident in her sexuality, relaxed about her looks, she is a single mother and ex-bellydancer, with more than the next month's rent on her mind.... Young's writing can be as lush as it is streetwise. It's this combination that makes Tree of Pearls such an entertaining read.'
- The Independent
'The exotic intensity and formality of Arabic culture gives Tree of Pearls its poignancy and tension... set in London and Luxor, it is essentially a love story. There is the destructive, warped love of gangster Eddie Bates; the old love between Evangeline and Harry, the petty crook turned cop who for years has worn her name tattooed across his biceps, and the fiery insistent love that draws Evangeline to Sa'id, the alabaster merchant who doesn't want to want her, but does... ' - The Daily Mail
'Generous, humourous, fascinating... Young makes decency interesting, and that's no mean feat' - The Guardian
'Terrific - full of humour, drama, warmth and wisdom' - Woman's Own
'Compelling to the end' - The Times
From the readers:
'The story unfolds slowly and gracefully, with a gorgeous sound track for the heartache and dangerous events: "and then, oh glorious joy, Umm Khalthoum singing Enta Omri -You Are My Life. Whenever I hear it my backbone grows longer and my foot arches, I begin to sway and to feel a mild but definite yearning for the weight of a heavily sequinned band around my hips". Louisa Young doesn't stick to a plain old story but allows Evangeline digression and musings that shimmer and sparkle. She contemplates mythology, the colours of the landscape and the sky, the rapture in Egyptian love songs. Tree of Pearls is seductive, romantic and realistic. Evangeline Gower is redeemed by love but remains strong and independent, and in control of her own life: "I close no doors, I send love. I am not wasting away for you." ' - Eithne Farry
'Louisa Young's prose is beautiful and so well-crafted that it seems effortless. Her characters are human and believable and so much of her writing about feelings and relationships strikes a real chord with me. I read this book in a day, despite having a million other things to do and find it inconceivable that other readers wouldn't enjoy it!'
'The prose can be thoroughly seductive and verging on the literary, even though the novel is far too entertaining to qualify for the literary tag (usually reserved for the unreadably turgid rather than brilliantly written).'