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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Gazelle In The Shadows
by Michelle Peach
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts



Cover Image Of The Book 'Gazelle In The Shadows' By Author Michelle PeachPROLOGUE

For many years, I have wanted to write this book to leave my legacy for my children as this story is largely based on my life. There are stories in the novel that are entirely true whereas others are fictionalized.

When I traveled to Syria as a Durham student in 1992, I knew very little about the country. Many have asked me how I had the gall to jump on a plane and travel to a country where I did not even have a hotel to arrive at….



With my legs bunched up near my chin, I buried my face into my knees and rocked. I smelled the rusty, iron scent of blood on my jeans. Strands of long hair that had been pulled out of my braid after the struggle were sticking to my neck and cheeks, held in place by sweat and blood. I reached up and felt the sore skin around my neck, where my hood had been tied. Welts had formed around my wrists, where the ropes had been. I moaned.

Who are my kidnappers? Could it be Hezbollah? The Syrian Army? Or the South Lebanese Army?

God, please let it not be Hezbollah.

Cover Image Of The Book 'Gazelle In The Shadows' By Author Michelle Peach


Cover Image Of The Book 'Gazelle In The Shadows' By Author Michelle PeachIn the mid 90s, Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University.

With some travel and work already under her belt, she excels at her studies and is sent to Damascus to immerse herself in the language.

Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the people there, she easy slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend.

But things aren’t always what they seem.

Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are commonplace, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals, and even murder involving MI6, deadly terrorist factions, and the shadowy Syrian secret police.

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Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

Visit your host, Gilion @ ‘Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

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I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I’m even more intrigued by this now than when you first shared it. I really do hope you’ll have more posts featuring it so I can decide if it needs to go in my TBR pile. Still love that cover!

    • This one is probably pushing the boundaries for me, as it is in effect, a fictionalised memoir.

      However, I am totally intrigued to see how Michelle has combined fact with fiction and to try and see if I can spot the transitions from one genre to the other!

      I probably have no chance of doing that realistically though, as Michelle is a very consummate ex diplomat and journalist.

      I shall of course, share a few more lines as part of my ‘Teaser Tuesday’ meme and Michelle has kindly offered to write a Guest Post, which I am awaiting as we speak.

      Thanks for stopping by and I do think that ‘Gazelle In The Shadows’ sounds right up your street and would possibly make a great study for your book club 🙂

    • Below, I have highlighted a couple of the relevant quotes from Michelle’s site, regarding the fact versus fiction segments of the story. I have also left a link to her site, should you want to read the longer articles for yourself, so that you can decide whether the extract I have shared from Chapter One, is indeed fact or fiction!

      “The end is fictionalized but many of the chapters are my life”.

      “Also, I’m frequently asked if the story is true. I would say that it is 70% true. There are parts that are entirely true and others that are fictionalised”.


      Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend 🙂

    • I must admit that I don’t have much wanderlust these days and as hubbie has been to most countries, neither of us are very keen on rushing into air travel any more.

      I certainly wouldn’t be just hopping onto a plane on a whim, I like my travel plans made and organised much better than that.

      The travel opportunities open to young people today are amazing and they have the confidence levels to match. Very little seems to faze them in the way it would have done me all those years ago, although I am not so sure that the world is any safer a place than it was back then and if any of my family wanted to do what Elizabeth did in the book, I think I would be truly worried.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and Happy Reading both of you 🙂

    • It is so difficult to guage just how much one reads in the press about worldwide events, especially those in the mIddle East, are ‘fake’ news and how much is fact.

      However I do admire the barvery and tenacity of the journalists, aid workers and diplomats, who risk their lives to get the truth out and help those caught up in the troubles through no fault of their own.

      I am sure that even the fiction elements of this novel, are thoroughly researched and as factually accurate as possible.

      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

      Happy Reading and have a great week 🙂

Written by Yvonne