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What Lies Beneath The Cedars

4.90  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  48 reviews
It is 1999 and 26 year-old Lucy Shadid is the daughter of a first generation Lebanese family living in an Australian country town. She feels frustrated and unfulfilled, working in Millie's Place, her family's café that’s well-loved by the locals. Lucy's younger sister, Grace is estranged from the family and as such, her mother, Amelia is highly controlling to ensure Lucy s ...more
Published June 1st 2016 by Smashwords Edition
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Average rating 4.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  63 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved it! What a great read. I cried and laughed and cheered on Lucy. Being of ethnic background I could identify with her struggles.
Solange Nahlous
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book was absolutely brilliant and a real page turner! It portrayed both the Lebanese migrant and country Australian cultures in a respectful and honest way, and it was refreshing to not have to deal with stereotypes.
Sonia Gebrael's writing is both eloquent and poised and she portrayed the depth of emotions of the characters both the protagonists and those around them beautifully; as a reader you are invited to at once feel the raw passion of Rhys and Lucy, while feeling a mixture of e
Francine Kay
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just loved reading this book. It was a real delight and difficult to put down. I enjoyed getting to know the Shadid family and found that, surprisingly, my eyes welled often. Truth be told, I was unsure at the beginning of the book as was curious where it would lead when we first meet Lucy and Rhys. It seemed a typical love story but once the momentum started it really kicked into action and there were many deep layers in the novel.. plenty of deeper themes of family and secrets and lies.
It w
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hi Sonia,
I absolutely loved your book, what can I say but Lucy really touched my heart.
Lucy's struggles were so relatable for me as my family came over to Australia from Lebanon/Syria in the 80's and I too still feel like I don't fit in. I cried and laughed while reading it, however I have to say reading it on the train isn't wise as I kept having to wipe away my tears.
Thank you Paul for recommending to read this book and I am busting to read the next one in line.
Congratulations Sonia on foll
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an amazing book! I loved it! What an emotional roller coaster! I was spellbound! I couldn't put the book down. For a first time author, Sonia Gebrael has done a brilliant job in capturing the struggles faced by first generation Lebanese migrants & their families trying to fit into the Australian way of life. If you like romance, drama, humour & culture, you're going to love this book! Congratulations Sonia! You've done a fantastic job! ...more
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read books and haven't read book from start to finish in 10 YEARS but my friend recommended this one and with hesitation I finally got to it and I'm so so so GLAD I did!I read this book so many times1 definitely couldn't put it down. I suggest this book to people of all cultural backgrounds not just Lebanese! it was hands down a beautiful read that was filled with plot twists that keep you on edge of your seat! I think you should pick up this great book!
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn’t put this book down.
Lebanese overbearing mother on point 👌🏻
The community being over the top and wanting to know everyone’s business 🤪
The struggle to find your identity working Australia with a Lebanese heritage. I really felt that.
Rhys reminded me of my Australian neighbour, the way he would try to pronounce arabic words was hilarious and so accurate.
Loved the romance between Lucy and Rhys, currently reading and enjoying the sequel.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What Lies Beneath The Cedars is a really good read, told in an easy way. Interesting insight into a Lebanese community in Australia and the struggles they face. You can not help but cheer on a most likeable lead character in Lucy and swoon over Rhys.
Susan Climo
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I took it with me on holiday and read it in two days. Such a beautiful story with so many great characters. I was laughing and crying throughout. I was so sad to finish reading it because I wanted more. So happy to have the sequel and can't wait to get home tonight to read it!
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just wanted to say that I LOVED this book. You are very talented!!!! I could not put the book down - have read it in 2 days, any chance I could get. I cried a number of times and felt as though I knew everyone in the book. Hopefully I will get the chance to read your next book (please keep writing!!)
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
OH MY GOD! My heart hurts in so many ways. I can't believe I waited this long to read it. Absolutely loved it.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this novel so very real and easy to identify with. I felt that I could see Lucy in so many people I know and I could certainly see a little Lucy in myself. She is such a genuine person with so much emotion and it was difficult not to get caught up in her story and cheer for her. There are some beautiful romantic scenes in the novel where you feel not only the love blossoming between her and Rhys but a lovely friendship forming that made me smile (by the way Rhys was so real I could almos ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was truly an experience for me, a book that mirrored my thoughts and words. I felt like I was reading my own life. It made me cry (a lot) and laugh as well.
Great read, better than I expected. Thoroughly enjoyed this and would recommend it.
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very real and honest portrayal of the struggles of a Lebanese-Australian who has to not cope with being 'different'. It is a funny and touching book that everyone will be able to realte to as the theme that underlines the book is that we are all 'different' but our struggles are all the same. Great read.
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, fastest I have ever read! Could not put it down. Thoroughly recommend this if you like romance, drama, culture.
Michelle T
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a fabulous book to read, it was so much more than I expected.
HIghly recommend reading this if you like a beautiful romantic novel but then some suprises too! I really really loved this book.
Josette Hajjar
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Grasp tightly onto your cuppa, read slowly page to page and savour every letter 'what lies beneath the cedars' is a gripping tale of forbidden love within the realms of a restrictive family trying to hold onto their cultural heritage.
Stuck between 2 cultures, Lucy only knows confusion and fear and can't shake it off. Until she meets love she begins to meet her real self. And when she thought she had worked her self out, she stumbles onto family secrets and lies, taking her steps backwards.

Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Highly Recommended!
"What Lies Beneath The Cedars" is a fantastic, honest and very funny portrayal of a first generation Lebanese community.
Not your typical love story, Sonia Gebrael has beautifully captured the characters essence and emotions. The happiness, challenges and confusion often associated with cultural differences and forbidden love.
I loved reading this book so much it left me wanting more, so I read it a second time and discovered even more depth and substance in the strong and power
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an intriguing read. Sonia has done an amazing job in putting this story together, from the riveting love story to the deep sense of culture and heart stopping events within the book. The author has portrayed the Lebanese Culture in such an accurate way that, being Lebanese myself, I could relate to the main character. It’s hard to describe and capture the mix of emotions you get when reading this book – from happiness to sadness, from laughter to tears. Definitely the best book I have read ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was immensely intriguing. Having read many books in my life I am always a harsh critic but this book blew my expectations away and it was extremely difficult to put down. The book written by Sonya Gebrael definitely consists of something any reader would enjoy. The story line flew perfectly and it had many different engaging situations involved! The story that was a mix of culture, family, mystery and romance introduced many values and was extremely interesting Would definitely recomme ...more
Joumana Sukari
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"What Lies Beneath The Cedars" is a captivating story which takes you on a journey of familial relationships, first loves and self discovery. The beautiful writing style of the author, immerses the reader in the polarizing worlds of the two main characters Lucy and Rhys, and seamlessly explores their new found relationship and the consequences that arise from that relationship. This book has humor, tragedy, love, friendship and the exploration of different cultures. It is a fantastic read and wi ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was such an amazing book. So well written! I was there every step of the way, and I could feel and see each scene. I wish this would become a movie! It was such an emotional story, told in a beautiful way. TO be honest, I had my doubts with this, but I am so glad I took the plunge. I would suggest that you hang in there, the beginning bit can seem quite ordinary and slow to really get into, but from the middle right towards the end, it really picks up speed and slaps you in the face. You wi ...more
Rose Brigida
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Congratulations to Sonia Gebrael for her honest and funny portrayal of first generation Lebanese community. Our struggles are never easy to explain, but to have them put in a book, with humour, wit and honesty is a great achievement. It has finally given our generation a voice. You captured the characters essence in such a way that makes it easy identify with and I can’t wait to see how the characters develop in the sequel. Well done to you and thank you for giving us a voice.

Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved reading this book. I wasn't sure what to expect before I started reading but it grabbed my attention from the very start and I was looking for excuses to sneak away and read it whenever I could. It was extremely well written and the author painted such a vivid picture in my mind of all the characters and their surroundings. I always love it when I discover a new author and I can't wait to read the next installment.
Jen S
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved ‘What Lies Beneath the Cedars’! From the moment I started reading it, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down! I so identified with the themes throughout the story, coming from a similar background.
I felt like I was really there, as I laughed and cried along with the characters. I loved the Khalil Gibran quotes throughout, it really tied the story together.
I couldn’t recommend this book enough and can’t wait for the follow up book!
Rosie P
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very realistic story, with believable and strong characters. I loved Amelia the best, I could see her so clearly in my mind and I empathised with her the most. I feel there is so much more to say and the author, although she has given great insight into the Lebanese culture and identity issues for migrating families, could do so much more with it too. Looking forward to seeing what she dishes out next.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I must congratulate you on your wonderful book. You certainly have talent for writing, I could imagine all the places and situations you took me to. It was enlightening to read about how it was for Lebanese families to come to a new country but still live with their old ways and how families in general have hidden secrets that for one reason or another come to the surface after so many years. Can't wait to read your next journey.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We loved reading your book "What Lies Beneath The Cedars" ! It was well written, original, realistic and engaging. I personally have not come across any novels addressing the Lebanese culture in Australia where I can relate to the story, characters and their struggles. I can see that you have a passion and a gift of writing so keep on following your dream and once again congratulations!! I'll be one of the first in line to get your next book.
Sharn Barton
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and all that it stands for. I laughed, cried and fell in love with the characters and just when I thought I knew what was happening...another turn.
I am so proud of Sonia and this massive achievement..I would definitely recommend reading and getting to know the "Shadid" family of "Opal Hills"

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Sonia Gebrael is the youngest of six children born to Lebanese migrants that settled in a tight-knit community in Sydney. Her interest in exploring her heritage has seen her travel to Lebanon on several occasions where she was fortunate to journey the country, connect with relatives and discover new friends. These experiences enabled Sonia to develop a profound appreciation of the culture and atti ...more

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