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Parade of Shadows

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  258 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Julia Hamilton is restless. Determined not to be left behind again--stuck in the cold house where her mother died ten years earlier, with only her dreams to keep her company--Julia begs her father to take her with him on his next expedition. When he unexpectedly agrees, Julia is intrigued. Will this be her chance at adventure and romance?

Traveling across t
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published October 1st 2007)
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Jul 23, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
The story has all the parts in it to create a compelling drama and mystery. Somehow, however, the author fails. Every clue is pointed out in an obvious manner by the main character, who then illogically tries to explain away the clue (essentially "I thought that ____ was very, very, very suspicious and was probably tied to ____, but then I randomly decided that ignore all other previous hints that support this conclusion and to think it has nothing to do with ___, although it obviously does and ...more

In 1907 Sixteen-year-old Julia Hamilton convinces her father to let her accompany him on a trip into Turkey, Syria and the surrounding areas. Julia and her diplomat father travel in a group with three other Europeans and four native helpers. Whereas Julia expected a pleasant sight-seeing adventure, she finds herself caught in international espionage and dangerous plots. Her father is poisoned, her romantic interest, Graham, is arrested and one other of the group is arrested for trying to take ar
H D Elliott
Jul 16, 2012 H D Elliott rated it it was amazing
The story of a sheltered Edwardian teen, who travels to Syria with her father, and finds that the complex politics of the Ottoman empire are a whole lot nastier than the popular stereotypes of the Romantic Middle East.

When I started this book, I immediately knew it wasn't my usual cup of tea. It's more concerned with place and time than with characters, and for a while I debated whether I would even finish it, but I'm glad that I did. Ultimately, I found it to be personally enriching, and it als
Melody Savage
Nov 30, 2010 Melody Savage rated it it was ok
Parade of Shadows by Gloria Whelan, published 2007 by Harper Collins, takes us on a journey through early 20th century Middle Eastern regions, like Istanbul and Damascus, an area known as the Levant. It’s a slow journey with mystery and adventure in mild doses.
The slow journey allows the reader to take in the view of these foreign lands, their peoples and their cultures. Julia is a sheltered English young woman who constantly compares her quiet, secluded English life with the cultures she is ex
Apr 05, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
It's 1907, and sixteen-year-old Julia Hamilton lives an uneventful life in London, though she dreams of seeing distant places and having exciting adventures. Her mother died of an illness when Julia was very young and her father is often traveling in his work for the British Foreign Office. When she learns her father is to take a trip to the Middle East, she begs to come along, and to her delight, her father agrees.

On the journey, Julia befriends Graham Geddes, a handsome young student from Oxf
Mar 29, 2012 Linnae rated it liked it
Julia longs to escape the cold, empty house she lives in--where her mother died, and where her father comes only when necessary. She can hardly believe it when he allows her to come on his next trip with him, an adventure to the Middle East. Imagine: they will be travelling by train, and riding camels, and camping in the desert. Exactly what her father is going to be doing is a bit unclear, as he is not going in his official capacity with the British Foreign Office, but frankly, Julia doesn't ...more
May 09, 2009 J rated it liked it

Intended for readers ager 10 and up, I am an adult who found it interesting on multiple levels: characters, era, dialogue, plot.

Historical context - turn of century 1907 - provides a history lesson on unrest in Ottoman Empire, as perceived by different parties.

One guy represents capitalism (the French antiquities dealer), another the Brit Empire (diplomat Carlton Hamilton), another the insurgency of youth (the youn
Julia is bored with her life. Her mother is dead, her father is always busy with his work for the British Foreign Office and the only place she ever goes is school (boring!). Julia wants to have an adventure. When she finds out her father is travelling to Syria for work, she begs to go to. Surprisingly, her father agrees. Deserts! Camels! Ruins! How exciting! But as they make their way to the Middle East, Julia begins to realize that her father has a secret. And so do each of the other members ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: teen-reads
Set in the early 1900s, narrated by the 16 year old daughter Julia who has led a sheltered, safe life in London while her father serves in the British Foreign office. She gets to go on his journey to the Turkish Empire (ruled by the Sultan). Everyone seems to have an undercover political agenda. She falls for a young firebrand and picks up hints that she is being used (for a cover, to get info) by many of the travelers. I liked the setting (year and place). There is much to learn about the ...more
This is the first book by Whelan that I've been disappointed in. The plot was complicated and sometimes boring, the characters were flat, and the subject matter can be difficult to understand. I have a rudimentary understanding of the history and geography of the Middle East, and I found the book hard to relate to at times. Since it's written for middle school students, I believe that they would have a much more difficult time understanding much of the story line since it is dependent on having ...more
This was a bit if a disappointment. I had expected more of an adventure/quest story given the description. Instead, I had a coming of age story -- which I have no objections to, per se. I've read another book by Whalen before and liked it. But I had a hard time getting into Parade of Shadows. I didn't like the narrator much, and found her to be childish, impractical, and whiny -- which, I guess, is what a teenager is, so I can't fault Whalen too much for that characterization. The narrative also ...more
Jul 24, 2008 Gail rated it did not like it
After Whelan's excellent novel Homeless Bird I expected great things from this one but was disappointed. I found the plot hard to follow, the setting described almost too politically to keep my interest (every country described with regards to who is on what side between the Young Turks and Arabs), and the story almost had no satisfying conclusion, except for the main character finding out her gentleman friend was not really that interested in her (which the reader knew almost from the start).


The strong, descriptive writing and concise, eloquent dialogue have all the feel of watching a classic black-and-white movie. A literary getaway.

Julia is a sheltered but determined 16-year-old who convinces her
father to allow her to accompany him on his next business trip through the Ottoman Empire, representing England's Foreign Office. Far more than the leisure trip she expected, Julia finds herself witness to political intrigue and stirrings of revolution against the sultan. Their colorful t
May 28, 2011 Krysta rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, adventure
I picked this up thinking to have a change from my usual diet of fantasy and science-fiction, and while it was a diversion I found that I was not very satisfied with the ending. The bulk of it read enjoyably with intrigues and the promise of adventure, but I found the development of several characters and the direction the narrative took in the last several chapters unfulfilling. I could guess who the "guilty party" was in all of the mysterious events shortly after passing the half-way mark. The ...more
Tiphanie Neely
I was really disappointed that - for a story in a setting rife with adventurous opportunities, namely, Syria - nothing really happened. A lot of nothing happened while the girl narrating the story bemoaned the fact that nothing happened (except for trivial things). The dynamics of the main character confined themselves to when the author actually told us that she was changing. Halfway through the book I realized that I didn't like any of the characters.

I can't give it a one star because there w
Aug 05, 2014 Anne rated it it was ok
I had the weirdest feeling of deja vu when I was reading the last ten pages, and realized that several other aspects of the story were strangely familiar. It is a definite possibility that I've read this before, maybe 6 years ago. Not, though, the kind of book that leaves much of a memory; it is dully written, tediously plotted, and the characters are as distinctive and colorful as pita bread.

Any comparison to E. M. Forster's "A Passage to India" is like comparing a plastic ring from a vending m
Brianda Barrera
Sep 15, 2013 Brianda Barrera rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I found the main character in this book to be so irritating. I thought it was obvious what was going on and she was so oblivious. The so-called romance was not a romance, more like unrequited love. Many of the characters irritated me and none seemed remorseful or to care of how they affected others. The only redeeming factor was the father who at the end just wanted the best for his daughter. As far as a historical book goes, this book was very informative, but as a young adult novel, it left me ...more
Georgia Herod
Dec 27, 2014 Georgia Herod rated it really liked it
Julia Hamilton is tired of being left behind when her father goes off on his expeditions. After begging him once again, he agrees. Julia has no idea what she will encounter, but she's eager and ready to go. On the journey she meets an antiques collector, a horticulturalist, and a handsome young student. All are mysterious traveling companions. Julia learns big lessons about trust and what she's willing to stand for.

Again, Whelan has created a dramatic plot with well-developed characters.

May 08, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
"Parade of Shadows" started out on a high note, but unfortunately, could not sustain that high note. I was put off by the seemingly endless description of the Turks' control of the Middle East. I grew tired of the narrator's disregard of her father and her infatuation with one of her fellow traveling companions. None of the characters were very likeable. Everyone was "hiding" something. The indigenous men hired to help lead the tour group were shady. All in all, I was highly intrigued for the ...more
Jun 06, 2011 Boston rated it did not like it
The main character, Julia is an overprotected sixteen years old. Her father is a part of the Ottoman government. On March 14, 1907 Julia and her father are sent an invitation to a tour of the Ottoman Empire. On the trip Julia makes some acquaintances which included Graham Geddes a young Turk revolutionary who was on the tour, to start up rebellion in the Ottoman Kingdom. Also Edith a plant collector, and Paul Louvors a buyer and seller of art.
The plot of this story is survival; make a friend so
Jun 19, 2008 Julia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ages 10+
Liked this book a lot. A 16 year old girl named Julia embarks on a journey with her father, who works for the British Foreign Office, through the middle east during the age of British colonialism. The books brings the politics and religion of the time to life, while weaving mystery and a little bit of teenage romance (or wishful romance on Julia's part) into the story. Well written and a very enjoyable read.
Mar 27, 2012 Tasha rated it it was ok
I love Gloria Whelan, but I was quite disappointed with this book. The politics were more complicated than her other books and yet the plot was obvious, buy the heroine was what really disappointed me. She was both clueless and unrealistically independent for her age. The worst was her affection for Mr. Smarmy-Pants who was obviously trouble from the beginning. I loved learning about the Middle East in the early 1900s, but the rest of the book was just a drag.
Surprisingly sophisticated YA novel, following the journey of a sheltered 16 year old English teenager and her father (a quasi spy) into the world of 1907 Syria under the Ottoman Empire. My daughter followed the politics, the mystery, the love story all with equal enthusiasm. And considering how Syria is on the world stage today, it makes for a great introduction to that part of the world and it's history, certainly for any worldly adolescents.
Nov 03, 2008 Stven rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Stven by: library
I'll give this a 2 as a courtesy. Maybe it gets better. My patience ran out a little after the one-quarter mark while the author was still presenting new (stock) characters, filling us in on her historical setting, and emphasizing and reemphasizing the point that the main character's father was a mysterious fellow all too distant from his eager-to-please daughter. Okay, we get it. Now something needs to happen.
Oct 21, 2009 Cori rated it really liked it
This book was fascinating! Beginning 1900's a girl and her father take a business trip through the middle east. It's based on true life political upheaval of the time and I gained so much insight into the way things are now. This is a novel from the view of the girl so it's a smooth read and includes the classic crushes and conflicts that make novels so very readable but contained a lot of interesting information also.
Jun 08, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
3.5 I didn't like this book as much as I have liked other books by Whelan, but it was still good. I definitely did not expect the ending. Julia is tired of sitting around at home and never seeing her father. So she begs to go on a trip with him to the Middle East. There she meets a handsome young man, an effervescent French man, a larger-than-life English woman, and a worrying tour guide. Along the way, she finds mystery, intrigue, romance, adventure, and a whole lot of trouble.
Apr 27, 2016 Marlene rated it it was ok
Julia Hamilton has been invited to take a trip with her father through the wild country of Syria at the turn of the 20th century. Sounds romantic and adventurous but it turned out to be slow and rather unimagined. It didn't really get exciting till nearly the end and then it did end. Rather a let down really. I was expecting a bit more detail but no...
Apr 30, 2013 Suzette rated it really liked it
This is a young adult reader book about an English girl's adventure to the Ottoman Empire with her father in the early 1900's. There is romance and mystery in this exotic tale. I really liked it and will read more of Gloria Whelan. She is a Michigan author and I picked up this signed book at a local library sale.
Sep 16, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, historical
16 year old Julia Hamilton doesn't want to be left alone in the gloomy house in London as her father leaves on Foreign Office business. She asks to go with him, and is unexpectedly allowed to. What follows will change Julia forever, broadening her horizons and leading to life and death decisions in the sands of the Middle East.
Jul 26, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it
Set in Africa during the Turkish occupation, a young uninformed girl travels with her father on mysterious business. Spies, revolutionaries, art theives, Imperialists... and a revealing history lesson about the time and the interests of various countries in Africa, without making the book a lecture. Its not fast-paced, but steady and doesn't 'droop' in the middle.
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Gloria Whelan is the best-selling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award; Friutlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect; Angel on the Square and its companion, The Impossible Journey; Once on this Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell to the Island; and Return to the Island. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods ...more
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“People long to go backward in their imagination as well as forward. We don't wish simply to exist forever in some future; we wish to have existed in some distant past.” 25 likes
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