Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Forty year old schoolteacher Agnes, having recently suffered the loss of her entire immediate family to the influenza epidemic, makes a huge decision to travel to Egypt and the Holy Land in the year 1921. Her sister and husband had been missionaries there and befriended T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who Agnes plans to meet. Indeed she does meet him, as well as Winston Churchill and Lady Gertrude Bell at the Cairo Peace Conference. She interacts with them all and is especially invited on side trips by Mr. Churchill and his entourage. She finds love along the way and comes to understand both herself more and also the world which seems to constantly be either at war or planning it.
Accurate to history, this book wonderfully fleshes in the characters of that monumental time that set the stage for the Middle East for years to come and, in fact, even today.
Dreamers of the Day invokes the stories of all those men and women who have believed that their way was the way to change their world and others for the better, or at any rate, to their own betterment. Mary Doria Russell is a master at making the written page come alive with both history and the people's lives that make it.
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