I have a stack of books that I've won from FirstReads on GoodReads.com that I need to get reading so I decided that I'd start with the one that has been sitting there the longest.
The Mistress of Abha is written by William Newton, who died earlier this year. Newton spent his professional career as a doctor and started writing novels in his retirement. The Mistress of Abha is his second published novel.
This novel is set in 1930's Arabia. Ivor Willoughby has decided to search for his long lost father. He knows that his father left his mother shortly after his birth to serve with the British in Arabia. He returned for one brief visit when Ivor was a teenager and then disappeared again. Ivor is now an adult and ready to solve the mystery of his father.
The book begins slowly as it builds momentum for Ivor's adventure in Arabia but it does hold the promise of eventual thrills. I read an article by a reader who explained that she always gave a boring book fifty pages before deciding to put it down, and it seemed that in this case right at page fifty the book suddenly got interesting and exciting.
While in Arabia, Ivor meets with great danger, hears stories of tribal battles, the slave trade, love and intrigue amidst the harems, and eventually uncovers the mystery surrounding the tales of his father--Ullobi. Arabia is definitely not a dull place. Newton writes historical detail and plot well. However, what the book lacks is passion. Overall, I enjoyed The Mistress of Abha and stayed up late to finish it last night.