• When the Apricots Bloom

  • By: Gina Wilkinson
  • Narrated by: Raghad Chaar
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (247 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein's rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson's evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium.

At night, in Huda's fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the Mukhabarat - the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador's wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenage son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own. 

Huda's former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women's lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

©2021 Gina Wilkinson (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about When the Apricots Bloom

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Historical Fiction

I enjoyed this book very much. The story was interesting and kept my attention to the end. The descriptive writing put me right there in Baghdad! It was beautifully written. My only issue was the narration. I found the accent challenging, but it did add to the authenticity of the story; and it didn't change enough between the characters so often I was left wondering who was speaking.

5 people found this helpful

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Now my favorite.

I felt like the writer hurried the ending, as of wanting to be done with the book.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book!

Really enjoyed this! Well written, with great dialogue. Lives of three main characters embedded readers in Iran, almost current day. Fascinating story. Well researched details. I highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

I loved this book. The narrator was great and the story was so good.I loved listening to it while walking.

1 person found this helpful

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A visual experience

Gina Wilkinson writes details with evocative poetic flourish - describing peeling paint as fish scales - it gives the story an old fable feel. It also makes the larger topics of truth and family loyalty, fear and friendship feel universal and intimately relatable.
Rahhad Chaar performs the story with a calm intensity, a perfectly paced urgency. Her care for the characters is palpable. Her delivery of Wilkinson’s storytelling is a visual experience.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved this read...

This was the book read by my book club. I really liked this story. I liked the narrators voice.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Story!

Performance of narrator great!
Story was very realistic in telling what life is like for women and families in the middle east.

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Difficult listen

While the narration kept me in Baghdad, it was difficult to differentiate between two of the woman. That made listening a chore and detracted from my interest.

The story was a struggle as well. Lies and Dishonestly and Deceit. Even understanding the causes, it made for unlikable characters. The world has watched the long history of Iraq trying to find its control. This story, while capturing a moment in time, feels like a stereotypical portrait. The Australian character comes across as so naive...but maybe that's my reaction after twenty years of additional history.

Its not without value, but I have read other similar stories I enjoyed more: Silent Hearts. The Map of Salt and Stars. When The Moon Is Low. Sparks Like Stars to name just a few.

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Friendship amid terrorism

An excellent portrait of the impact of terrorism on trust and friendship. The manipulation and suspension that permiated Iraq was chilling. Particularly striking was the innocence of the Australian who came from a much more open and trusting culture.

The performance was very good.

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A mother’s love is endless

This book was exceptionally good! A story of two young girls from different places who bond as sisters. As they grow older, and not in contact with each other for many reasons; their paths cross. Their bond is reunited when they determine the best future for their kids is to get them out of Iraq and devise a plan.