While it might be easy to simply describe a novel about a nineteenth century Afghanistan woman as a departure from what we usually read about that part of the world-it's a lot more. When we read The Moonlit Cage, by Linda Holeman, we were absorbed by main character Darya's timeless (and placeless) struggle for independence as much as we were captivated by its descriptions of the lush landscape and diverse cultures.

Darya, who was born into a traditional Muslim family, faces many of the same circumstances characteristic of traditional Victorian heroines from that period - namely, having little say in life-changing decisions and facing the consequences when one does stand up to the men responsible for making them. Her fictional life story, which admittedly contains a fair share of religious oppression and territorial conflict, takes us from her small village to a tribe of nomads in Afghanistan, until she escapes to India, and finally to London, where we experience the reaction of polite Western society to her "exotic" appearance.

Finally, no good historical fiction would be worth its plot twists without a great love story, which this has. But, perhaps most important, our heroine must find herself before she discovers true love, and for that, Holeman had us holding our breath until the very end.

Click here to purchase The Moonlit Cage by Linda Holeman.

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