Description: Jayda Talhoun is the adored daughter of a wealthy Jordanian businessman. Driven to have a successful career in her own right, she is determined not to live a comfortable but servile life in Amman. After persuading her father to send her to London, she encounters an amoral society stricken with lust, greed jealousy and duplicity.
When she meets insurance broker William Clive, she is swept up in a romance which is soon challenged by their past, their faiths, their families, their very essences...
Set in London and Amman, this novel asks whether love and ambition can overcome the boundaries marked by birthplace and background.
Rating: 4.09 out of 5
Fragile Boundaries is the debut novel of English lawyer Johnny Leavesley. It is a contemporary romance with a heartbreaking ending that, as well as relationships, explores themes of racial differences. Set in London and Amman, Jordan, this is the story of two different people, one British, one Arab, and their determination to be accepted as a couple.
Jayda Talhoun, a woman in her early twenties, has temporarily moved to London to attend university. At a party she meets William Clive who falls in love with her at first sight. After a little persuasion, Jayda agrees to go out with William and it is not long before they consider themselves an item. The next challenge for William is to be accepted by Jayda’s family and so the two of them fly out to Jordan. How will the Talhoun’s react to their Muslim daughter dating a supposedly Christian, foreign man? One family member that it appears will take a lot of effort to get on the good side of is the eldest brother, Jamil, who is completely against his sister’s new relationship. Back home, however, William’s one time fling with the emotionally unstable Lady Caroline is about to have repercussions.
Fragile Boundaries touches on some very real issues within the world today. Boundaries such as differences in culture and religion can be very difficult to cross. The characters from Jordan view Britain as having a very weak culture due to it being very diverse however their own culture and values are very strong. Sexism is still an issue in Arab families which can be seen through Jayda’s relationship with her older brother and her father. The fact that she is at university is an anomaly in itself, but introducing an English gentleman into the family may be pushing the limit.
It took a little while for the story to get going and to work out (without reading the blurb) whom the main characters were. Both William and Jayda were likeable characters, which made the ending all the more shocking and emotional. Although written in the third person it was a little confusing to keep up as the writer quickly changes between the characters’ point of views; sometimes even within the same paragraph. It was not until the very end that the story begun to get exciting but then it sort of fizzled out, which was a little disappointing.
For readers who enjoy reading about different cultures and like a little bit of romance then give this book a go. But do not be expecting any happy endings…
At the time of writing, it is still the period of Advent. Preparations are underway for Christmas celebrations in our “bubbles”. Covid-19 remains a concern, but the vaccine has arrived in the country. Brexit talks are causing anxieties for many people. By the time you read this, we will no longer be part of the EU. By the time you read this, hundreds or thousands of people may be vaccinated. By the time you read this, our many worries and fears for the future may already be something of the past.
As we go into the new year, I would like us to focus on the word Hope. Admittedly, it is difficult to plan and think positively of the future. We have learned from 2020 that plans can be disrupted. This time last year, we did not know the challenges we would face. Should we approach this new year with apprehension or with hope for the future?
God sent Jesus to Earth as a gift of hope, which we celebrate each year on Christmas day. The shepherds and wise men that came to worship the child were full of hope, but we must not forget the confusion and mayhem this hope also caused. “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2:3) Herod feared for his position as king, and Jerusalem feared the changes this baby, this “hope”, would bring.
Hope manifests in many different ways. For some, it is a feeling, for others, it involves major changes. Being afraid of change prevents hope from becoming a reality. Some people are hopeful this vaccine will work, others fear it. By the time you read this, we may see evidence of the vaccine working, or we may not. There could be other vaccines in circulation, or there may not. Brexit may have gone smoothly, or it may not. We cannot predict these things, but we can hope and trust in God and know that, no matter what, we are loved beyond our comprehension.
So, as we go into this new year, look for signs of hope. Hope is not necessarily something huge, Jesus was only a baby, after all, but hope may appear in the most mundane of places: a smile from a stranger, a budding flower, blossom on trees, an act of random kindness. We do not know what this year will bring, but we can embrace the small glimmers of hope that prove life goes on and that God is always with us.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon