A childhood friendship between two girls, one the privileged daughter of a Sheik, the other a village girl both at the Bagdad Ladies High School, both age fourteen, swearing their friendship in a blood oath.
Time moves on and the friends lose touch, fortunes change and the reign of Saddam Hussain comes to Bagdad, ushering in a world of terror, hatred and violence that would change the landscape forever. Rania’s family wealth has gone; Huda finds work at the Australian Embassy and Ally the wife of the new Ambassador assistant arrives in Bagdad, thrown into a world of danger and intrigue.
As the three women’s lives come together, a friendship born out of necessity is born in order to survive. Family secrets are exposed. A fragile friendship is built based on survival, love of family and sacrifice in a world where betrayal is everywhere, no one can be trusted.
Gina Wilkinson was a foreign correspondent in Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussain, and writes her debut novel from a sound basis, reflecting well the conflicts placed on everyday people in order to survive a brutal regime.
Carefully sculpted out of a world of oppression, Wilkinson has bought together the richness of Bagdad at a time when change was in the making, with a simple and yet eloquent storyline, wrapped in intrigue, that will not easily be forgotten.
Confrontational, for those who are new to the conflict in Iraq, but beautifully written and structured When the Apricots Bloom is a work of fiction based on the everyday lives of women who struggled to find a pathway through the dangerous and challenging times of a Dictator who ruled with terror and fear.