From the blurb:
Heroine Dominique Avallon has been raised in the opulent French expatriate community of WWII Egypt. But revolution and a doomed love affair with a British officer drive her into an arranged marriage with an older man who promises her a new life in America. Chafing under the stern gaze of her aristocratic mother, she is ready to escape the danger and heartbreak of Egypt.
When Dominique discovers her husband is a fraud, she flees their home in San Francisco for New York. For the first time, she is alone and impoverished. Desperate, she puts her glamorous experience to use, and triumphs as the mastermind behind sparkling galas for the city’s most stylish department store.
Her good luck seems confirmed when a devilishly handsome New Orleans shipping heir sweeps her off her feet into marriage. But when her fairy tale becomes tarnished, her self-reliance is tested again, only now she has her mother and her daughter depending on her.
The homemakers of the 1950s and ’60s have become the career women of the ’70s and ’80s. Facing hard times once more, Dominique must hurry to catch up, fighting for her true identity and career. Yet even as her struggling career starts to succeed, Dominique is faced with her most difficult choice yet. Will she risk her hard-won independence for the possibility of another chance at love?
No More Lonely Nights is inspired by the true story of the author’s mother and grandmother, and their tales of the glamour they once knew.
There are many reasons why I love this book:
- The eras and the settings. Nicole writes with such warmth and so vividly that I can picture myself in the times and the places. Being from Alexandria myself, the beginning of the book, set in this city, had particular resonance. I also loved the American cityscapes.
- The writing style. Beautiful, passionate, evocative, intelligent – a real pleasure to read. I love especially the description which really transports you, as reader, into the action. For example:
Nothing about the morning presaged trouble. The sun was already high in the cloudless blue sky as Dominique waited at the bus stop for the shuttle to the base. Vendors with pushcarts passed by chanting their wares: ripe, juicy fruit, hashish, and fresh-baked bread, warm and aromatic from the oven.
- The romance. This is epic romance – a more realistic story than your average quick-grab romance in which the heroine meets Mr Right and then, after little more than a minor hiccup, sails off into the sunset with him. This is romance spanning a good proportion of womanhood, in which the writer expertly introduces four men into Dominique’s life to, en masse, romance, limit, charm and challenge her. The journey she goes on is a powerful one that will speak to many readers. The incurable romantic in me was a little sad that her first love was not, ultimately, her ‘happy-ever-after’ – but the actual ending is much more meaningful and right than that would have been.
- The ‘herstory’ angle. This is much more than a romance; this book is about women – three generations, by the end – and how they fare in the modern world set against the world they left behind in Egypt. I found the relationship between Dominique and her mother especially fascinating, and more than once I teared up during a scene between them. I championed Dominique as a working, independent woman throughout, and was really interested to read of her career path. For Nicole knows that we women reading aren’t only interested in a love interest, but also in career and family and personal identity. My favourite thing about the book? There is no dashing hero who sweeps in to rescue Dominique. She rescues herself.
Overall, a real gem of a book, timeless and poignant. One to get lost in, and one to keep on the shelf to re-read in the years to come.
No More Lonely Nights is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.