Set in 1980’s London, Helen Bartlett, a popular TV news presenter and Sam Aziz, a glamorous middle-eastern cardiac surgeon, meet on a live programme. They dislike each other on sight, and the interview is a disaster. But that is not the end of their story because later that evening, they find themselves at the same dinner party.
Over the weeks, hostility morphs into passion, and soon they fall desperately in love.
Both are looking for the right partner with whom to settle down and produce a family. They seem made for each other; they delight in the joy that they have found, and plan to marry. But then, the differences in their cultural backgrounds start to manifest themselves. And a debt of honour that Sam cannot ignore returns to haunt him.
Struggling with their torment, while she is so much in the public eye and he is performing life-saving surgery on a daily basis, places them under intolerable strain.
Must they relinquish the most magical relationship either of them has ever known? Can they find a way out of their dilemmas? Or do they have to accept that no matter how modern we are, we cannot fly in the face of the traditions that served, and shaped us, for centuries?
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Before I begin this review, I better just say that this is the new make over edition of this story, complete with new book cover, although it is my first time reading it.
Set in the 1980’s the story revolves round the turbulent relationship of a couple torn between love and cultural commitment. When Helen Bartlett and Sam Aziz first spoke to each other it couldn’t have been more public or hostile, taking place on live TV. Sparks flew between the pair and the whole thing was a disaster. It seemed though that fate was determined to throw the TV news presenter and Sam, a middle eastern cardiology surgeon together. What began as forced encounters turned into the couple not being able to keep away from each other. Even the nation followed the romance that was developing between the two well-known personalities.
Christine Webber awoke memories of living in the eighties in me as I was transported back to times that I had remembered, with rose-coloured spectacles. The love story of the couple, treads on ground where modern life styles were colliding with cultural traditions and commitments. The frustrations and internal battles caught in the pages as what was desired and what was possible were like oil and water.
Although the story does include a few other characters it is literally formed round Helen and Sam. Christine Webber goes much further than just a story as she strips them both down to the raw emotional side of desire, longing, love and commitment. All very different levels of human feelings that I could relate to myself. Can something that held such passion ever be anything else or is the love for each other too over powering. Love versus honour. This is such a captivating story.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christine Webber originally trained as an opera singer but had to re-think her career plans when her voice professor told her: ‘Your voice is OK, but your legs are very much better!’ Musical theatre beckoned. There was some success. But not much.
In 1979, she became a news presenter for Anglia TV. At last she had found something she enjoyed that other people thought she was good at. It was such a happy relief that she stayed for 12 years.
After leaving Anglia Television, she decided to train as a psychotherapist, which led to her having a Harley Street practice for over twenty years. She also became an agony aunt for various publications including TV Times, Best, Dare and BBC Parenting. And she wrote a relationship advice column for The Scotsman and one for Woman, called Sexplanations. She also regularly broadcast advice on Trisha, The Good Sex Guide …Late and from the BBC’s Breakfast sofa.
Much of her work has been in collaboration with her late husband, media doctor, David Delvin. Together, and for sixteen years, they wrote the sex/relationships content onpenned a joint column for The Spectator and co-authored The Big O.
Now, her focus is on writing fiction full time and she is planning another novel on the unexpected turbulence and contrasting humour of mid-life.