Sunday, May 25, 2008


Author: C. J. Illinik
Publisher: Kregel Publications
July 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2907-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical/women’s fiction

Najila’s life has been defined by conflict from the day she was born. Her mother is a Muslim, who dies in childbirth when Najila is just a small child, and her father, a Greek Orthodox Byzantine ambassador does his best to pass on his Christian beliefs to his strong willed daughter.

When Najila is seventeen, her father dies in a tragic accident, and Najila finds herself the sole heir of her father’s estate, Hawks Hill in Constantinople, and something even more precious, his silver and amber cross that her father made for her mother. Najila decides to go to her father’s estate, where she finds many surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. Will Najila come to term with who she is, and what she believes?

NAJILA is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Illinik. There are some point of view issues and time-line issues that caused me to stumble as I read the book, but the story is unique enough that if one were interested in a historical about a young girl coming of age in a community where she’s torn between Christian and Muslim beliefs, then NAJILA would be the perfect book. The faith message is quite strong, and it is obvious that the author has done extensive research in writing this story.

However, I found the story moved rather slowly, and I never did get into it the way I would have liked. I couldn’t relate to Najila, and that caused some issues too. I really can’t highly recommend NAJILA, but there is plenty of conflict within its pages which does help to keep the pages turning. $13.99. 347 pages.

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