Monday, March 15, 2021

#691: In Conversation with - Hannah Fielding

Book trailer - You can read the review here

1. Your books always have strong female lead. What or who is your inspiration to write such strong characters?

All of the women I have known and admired, most especially my daughter, my mother and my grandmother. The latter, Esther Fanous, was a revolutionary feminist and writer in Egypt; you can read more about her at

2. Your latest book, The Song of Nile, is set in Egypt – tell us more about your life in Egypt. 

My home town is the ancient and historic city of Alexandria, founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great. Stretching some 40 kilometres along the north coast of Egypt, it is known as the Bride of the Mediterranean, and certainly when I was growing there, in the 1950s and 1960s, the city was a beacon of Mediterranean culture.

I have such wonderful memories of growing up in Alexandria. It was a city known for its Europeanised freedom, an open place full of hope and anticipation. Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in friendship and peace. Most shops and factories were family owned by not only Egyptians but Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Syrians and Italians. Grand names come to mind, like Shamla and Cicurel, Gategno,  Orosdi-Back, Benzion, Sidnawy and Hannaux department stores, where you could find all the latest fashions from Paris and the most beautiful silk fabrics; Delices, Athineos, Pastroudis, Bodreaux, Flukiger, patisseries and tea shops that served the most mouth-watering cakes and ice creams; and Tomvaco, which sold delicious chocolates and candied fruits. (I especially remember its stuffed chocolate dates.)

On the beaches, like San Stefano, Miami and Montazah, and in the cafes and restaurants, the radio blasted out a medley of Italian, French, English and Greek songs to its international clientele. When I listen to songs from this era now, I am transported back in time, to a life that seemed light-hearted and full of mirth.

3. Tell us about the research that you normally do before you embark on writing a book. 

If I have not already travelled to a location, then where possible I do so, drinking in the feel of the place. Then, at home, I research everything from architecture to history and mythology. When I’m researching a novel and writing it, I try to immerse myself in the culture of the place; I listen to traditional music, for example, and I try out recipes in the kitchen. For Song of the Nile, this was easy, of course, for Egypt is my homeland.

4. Do you have a plan for your next book? Do tell us more about your writing plans. 

I am not quite ready to share details of my next novel – but I can tell you that it is set in Ireland, where I am living now. Such beautiful countryside!


#690 : Song of the Nile by Hannah Fielding - Review


Blurb : 

Luxor, 1946. When young nurse Aida El Masri returns from war-torn London to her family’s estate in Egypt, she steels herself to face the challenges ahead. Eight years have passed since her father, Ayoub, was framed for a crime he did not commit and died as a tragic result. Yet Aida has not forgotten, and now she wants revenge against the man she believes betrayed her father – his best friend, Kamel Pharaony. 

Then Aida is reunited with Kamel’s son, the captivating surgeon Phares, who offers her marriage. In spite of herself, the secret passion Aida harboured for him as a young girl reignites. Still, how can she marry the son of the man who destroyed her father and brought shame on her family? Will coming home bring her love, or only danger and heartache?

A compelling story of passion and intrigue – a novel that lays open the beating heart of Egypt.

Review : 

Romance has always been a tricky genre for me - I prefer to read realistic, passionate and sensual romance. While there is a very thin line between a sensual and an erotic romance, majority of writers tend to jump that fence and end up writing truly erotic stuff while marketing them as sensual piece of fiction. When I first read this author's works a few years ago, I found the perfect mix of what I wanted from a romance fiction. This book is no different in terms of being the perfect romance read. 

The book turned out to be an absolutely delightful read.  The mysterious and charming desert of Egypt, the lush fields of Luxor and the fashionable streets of Cairo came alive through the writers artfully crafted narrative. Depicting the culture and blending it with modern ideas to deliver perfect characterization is a tricky task - this writer does that with a particular ease that one simply would not experience any flaws. Consider this, in post war period, the Middle Eastern culture was simply more restrictive when it came to things that women were allowed to do. However, the protagonist of this story - Aida, set about to do as she pleases as she managed her father's estate until she was convinced that she would not loose her identity and independence upon marriage. This might not really have been possible in that age, but then, there were always exceptions where women took up things in their hands to enjoy their freedom. 

The luxury that the upper echelons of the Egyptian society experienced seemed mind blowing for me. It is one thing to write an artful narrative of the setting, it an entirely different thing to blend in the minor details which takes the experience of reading a whole different level - this writer seems to be a master at this. 

No qualms at all. Just none.  Turned out to be one super perfect romance. Browine points to amazing cover art. 

Overall, this is a book I would highly recommend. Please do buy it here - Buy Link

Also, please do read the interview!

Book Trailer : 

About the Author 

Hannah Fielding was born and grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, the granddaughter of Esther Fanous, a revolutionary feminist and writer in Egypt during the early 1900s. Upon graduating with a BA in French literature from Alexandria University, she travelled extensively throughout Europe and lived in Switzerland, France and England. After marrying her English husband, she settled in Kent and subsequently had little time for writing while bringing up two children, looking after dogs and horses, and running her own business renovating rundown cottages. 

Hannah now divides her time between her homes in Ireland and the South of France. She has written eight novels to date and these have won various awards, including: Best Romance for Aphrodite’s Tears at the International Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, American Fiction Awards, NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards and New York City Big Book Awards; Best Romance for Indiscretion at the USA Best Book Awards; Gold Medal for Romance for The Echoes of Love at the Independent Publisher Book Awards; and Gold and Silver Medals for Indiscretion and Masquerade at the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards.