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Gazelle in the Shadows

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In 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 s ...more
Kindle Edition, 327 pages
Published April 26th 2018 by Amazon Digital Services (first published April 20th 2018)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University in the mid 1990's. With her prior travel and work experiences coupled with her current academic success, she is given the opportunity to travel to Damascus to study there in an immersion program. She immediately notices the kindness and generosity of the people she meets . What must have been obvious to the people there was how naive and trusting she was.

Prior to meeting her fellow classmates, she meets a ma
Veronica ⭐️
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Gazelle in the Shadows, set in the early 1990’s, depicts life how it was for the people of Syria under the government of the time; a strict regime that ruled through fear.
Peach includes aspects of the political history of the country plus social and religious customs to bring the country and its people alive on the page.

Elizabeth arrives in Syria to complete her University requirement of a year of overseas study. She is the only one from her University to go to Syria however there will be other
Fizah(Books tales by me)
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
Actual Rating 3.5
I received a paperback from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The story is set in 90’s. Elizabeth Booth is a student who has been an average student for all of the life found a subject of her interest and she is totally committed to it. For further studying and proving herself in front of her parents, she goes to Syria, where her life changed completely and suddenly.

I liked the story but the major drawback was the pace I believe If it was 70-80 pages short It would be
Fidan Lurin
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I was recently sent a copy of Gazelle in Shadows for an honest reviews. It is a debut novel from former diplomat with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Michelle Peach. This is a self-published title which was released April 26 2018.

This is a thoroughly reflective illustration of life in Syria under the governmental unrest of the early 1990s – a brutal regime producing fear, anxiety and rage amongst those caught beneath it. It is a thriller and suspense; definitely not a book that I would ever
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars; book #60 of 2018 - Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach pleasantly surprised me. The subtitle of the book is "a story of espionage, terrorism, and feats of heroism in the Middle East." I don't usually love thrillers/mysteries, but this was an enjoyable read that I was itching to pick back up when I had to set it down.

The book is set in the early 1990s and begins with the main character, Elizabeth, in a room where she has been kidnapped. The second chapter then jumps back to the be
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the author for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll start out by saying that the author’s background definitely shines through in this book! I was amazed reading through her list of occupations and studies – her knowledge really helped add another element to GAZELLE IN THE SHADOWS. I love thrillers/suspense novels and especially when combined with a little political espionage. I know that can deter some people, but it’s not the main focus of the story.

Elizabeth Booth is
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I found the beginning a little jumbled, for me there was too much jumping between the present with Elizabeth and telling stories of her past to build her character and direction of the novel. However, when the timeline evened out it allowed the story to build into a fascinating tale about a young, inexperienced girl (I wanted to shake her for how trusting she was and how few questions she asked) going on a quest to learn more about the Middle East and Arabic language. In the end, not only did ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
I enjoyed reading this book which according to the author was largely based on her own life. My own son is studying Sociology, Arabic, and Middle East Studies and traveled recently to Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. As a parent to a student much like the author I was definitely worried sick the entire time he was abroad.

The pacing of the book was spot-on and a quick read. The protagonist Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic. Elizabeth seems to be pretty naive when she
The Library Ladies
(originally reviewed at )

Thank you to Book Publicity Services for sending me a copy of this book!

I have a distinct memory of being a child and my parents watching “The Hunt for Red October” in the family room. While I normally liked to try and watch whatever movie my parents were watching at the time (which led to them chasing me out of the room on more than one occasion), I remember feeling one distinct thing as they watched that movie: “This is boring”. And I can tell y
Sep 20, 2018 added it
Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of the book in return for an unbiased review

I didn’t really know what to except going into this book apart from the setting and that it is one I would have definitely not picked for myself normally. I’m not sure how much I like the main character, Elizabeth. She felt very naive about where she was going and what she was doing. I’m not sure how much of that is just because of the time she was living in and how much of it is because you can’t necessarily see thes
Marie’s Book Boutique
Read full review here

The front cover for this book having read it now is perfect for this story. It appears to be done in a charcoal drawing. The sky is shaded dark and gets lighter as it reaches the mountains and the skyline of the buildings. The sun beams down casting the shadows of the buildings on the ground. A woman walks alone in the shadows. Bothe the title and Michelle's name is done in a swirly font but has the Arabic-ness about it with the odd d
Katherine (
I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Make sure to check out more reviews at Katherine's Book Reviews.

Gazelle in the Shadows is a historical/suspense novel by Michelle Peach.


In 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
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'd like to give this 4.5 stars, but that's not an option.

The book follows Elizabeth as she travels to Syria and does what most young people do when they arrive in new places: she wants to explore the city, she wants to make friends, she wants to fit in. Almost immediately, she befriends several people on the flight to Damascus who offer to help her find a place to stay. Knowing the Arabic culture is friendly and open to helping strangers, she accepts their help and develops her first friendshi
The Bibliovert
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.**

This book was fascinating.  

The characters of this book were well developed and drew me in from the beginning. Right off the bat,  I knew I didn't like Hussein.  He seemed too nice and too accommodating to Elizabeth. After a while, I couldn't help to think that he was grooming her for something, but I wasn't sure what. As for Elizabeth, it seemed that she was extremely nieve.  She had no idea what she was in for in her travels.
Kasey Litt
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing book!

Really interesting story about the Middle East and integrating a westerner into that culture. How volatile the Middle East is.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Oh, I'm a student. I'm studying at Durham University. This year is the year all the students get sent to the Middle East to learn the language more fluently.'

'Are there more of you?' he smiled.

'No just me.' I giggled.

'So, you are travelling alone?' He raised his thick eyebrows."

This was my first inkling that Elizabeth was far too trusting of other people, especially people who she had not met before and who were nice to her. Anyone started to be kind to her and she was convinced these people we
Paige Green
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Book Publicity Services and the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3.5/5

Publication Date: April 26th, 2018

Genre: Thriller

Recommended Age: 15+ (suspense, violence, slight gore, kidnappings)

Pages: 327

Author Website

Amazon Link

Synopsis: In 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
Christine -  LifeWithAllTheBooks
Syria has been in the news for the last few years almost constantly but I must confess to knowing very little about the slightly less recent history of the country. Gazelle in the Shadows takes place in the mid 1990s and follows a British student studying Arabic as she spends a number of months in Damascus as part of her university studies. As she becomes embroiled in the culture and history of Syria she begins to realise she has come to a dangerous and unpredictable place.

The first thing I have
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
An intriguing tale of love, betrayal, political intrigue and terrorism.

Elizabeth is a student in the mid 90's, studying Arabic. But based on her past job experiences she goes to Damascus for an immersion program, alone, instead of to Cairo or Yemen with the rest of her class. She arrives to find the Syrian people warm and inviting and quickly finds herself being romanced and falling in love. But not everything is as it seems and Elizabeth learns that the hard way.

It is a fictional story, though
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a surprising delight to me - I loved how this book was so uniquely set in the Middle East in the 90's which lent an element of mystery all its own to the story.

This ended up being a very fast read once I fell into the story - between Elizabeth and the ongoing events she found herself tangled up in, and the historical reflection of Syria in a time that seems so long past, it became a book I hated to set down. I loved the detail in the story which made me feel like I was in the middl
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library, arcs
I can’t decide how I feel about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed reading about a country/setting that I’ve never read before. On the other hand, I felt the writing could have been flush out much more. The book tried to be everything resulting in awkward pacing and left me wishing the last 25% was written at the 50% mark-that the book was more of a thriller rather than coming of age.

I don’t fault Elizabeth for the predicament she got in. You may feel frustrated with her , I certainly did, bu
Amanda Hupe
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach is a fictional story that is based on true events that happened in the author’s life. The story introduces us to Elizabeth Booth from England who wants to travel and study Arabic. She works hard and ends up going to school in Syria. She falls in love with the people and the culture immediately. She even falls in love with a young man named Hussein. However, all is not what it seems. Hussein’s true intentions are revealed and now Elizabeth must watch her e ...more
Gunjan Mittal
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gazelle in the Shadows is a story set in the mid-90s. It’s about a young Elizabeth Booth, who study’s Arabic at Durham University. She was a diplomat at the British Embassy before she decided to learn Arabic and had served in places like Yemen and Egypt.
On her way to Damascus she meets a flight attendant Asim and soon become friends with him. She meets Hassein through Asim and feels an attraction. On her arrival she gets help from Asim and Hassein to find a place to stay. She soon finds herself
Key B.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Romi || Romi Reads
Elizabeth Booth is a student at Durham University, with Arabic as her major. As part of her study she has to spend one year abroad in an Arabic country, so she can learn the language even better. Unlike the other students, Elizabeth wants to go to Syria. Eventually she convinces her professor and she can go. Once there she has to fend for herself, but she’s lucky to get lots of help from some kind Syrians. Soon she finds out that not everything is as it seems and she doesn’t know who to trust an ...more
Emma Rund
Oct 29, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: by-women
I’m DNFing this book... this is just not for me. The writing is all over the place and doesn’t paint any kind of picture for me. I would not recommend it.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The lines between memoir and fiction are blurred in this story, the author outlining in the beginning this is a work of fact and fiction intertwined. The result? A thrilling experience with a genuine vibe. Readers minds will easily manifest the distinctive local attributes in the various settings, cultural behaviors and characteristics of all the players in the story. The authenticity of the plotline, with its shocking twists sets an alarming sense of foreboding as the story plays out. I couldn’ ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was sent to me ever so kindly by Kelsey from Book Publicity Services so that I could enjoy it and share it with all of you wonderful people!

First of all, I love the cover. It's purple, which is my favourite colour and it's reminiscent of the imagery from Aladdin.

Now, this book was largely based on the author's real life experiences, which I found to be so cool and so crazy all at the same time. Going to another country alone without any real concrete plans beyond attending a school wh
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
* I received this book from the author’s publicist for free in exchange for an honest review.*Gazelle in the Shadows

What I Liked

One thing I first noticed about this book was the main character. Now this may sound like a really dumb statement given it is the main character, but bare with me. When you first meet the main character she is kinda annoying and just very short cited. She doesn’t really think too far into the future. I will say I really liked when she grew as a character. She started us
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
*Thank you to the author and book publicity services for my review copy. All opinions are my own*

This story follows Elizabeth who is from England as she goes to a university in Syria to complete her year abroad. At the start of the story we know she is kidnapped and the story all leads up to how exactly she got kidnapped.

By already knowing she was going to get kidnapped, I was suspicious of everyone and what they’re motives were . I was right to be suspicious of some people but didn’t guess exac
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A former diplomat with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1986 - 1991 working in the News Department and in Sir Geoffrey Howe's Private Office and then posted for three years to the British Embassy in Sana'a, the former Yemen Arab Republic as the radio communications officer and assistant visa officer.
She graduated from Durham University with a B.A. (Hons) in Arabic with Middle Eastern and I

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