Hadeer Elsbai, "The Daughters of Izdihar" (Harper Voyager, 2023)


The Daughters of Izdihar (Harper Voyager, 2023), like last year’s A Master of Djinn, is set in a world similar to Egypt, during the time of the suffragette movement. American-Egyptian author Hadeer Elsbai has chosen to focus even more on social justice issues, through her two main characters, rich spoiled girl Nehal, and struggling bookworm Giorgina. Both have magical powers, as well as an interest in women’s rights, but while Giorgina’s poverty and traditional father make her susceptible to intimidation, Nehal has grown up feeling entitled and being allowed to express her opinions. However, when Nehal is forced into marriage, and bristles at needing her husband’s permission to enroll in a school to train magicians, she starts to realize that even wealth and status can’t make up for the subservient status of women.

Nehal and Giorgina become unlikely allies, brought together both through their politics and their proximity to Nico, Giorgina’s husband.

Hadeer studied history at Hunter College and later earned her Master’s degree in library science from Queens College. Aside from writing, Hadeer enjoys cats, iced drinks, live theater, and studying the 19th century. She is also a gigantic A Song of Ice and Fire nerd, having read George R.R. Martin’s books before the show. The series remains a constant inspiration.

You can follow Gabrielle on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor.

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