Mandrakes from the Holy Land
"In 1906, an idealistic, upper-class young Englishwoman leaves her home, social circle, and the thrill of belonging to London's intellectual elite, and arrives in Palestine to paint the flowers mentioned in the Old Testament. Beatrice Campbell-Bennett is also running away from an emotional entanglement with Virginia Woolf's sister, Vanessa Stephen. The novel unfolds through her journal and letters." "Beatrice sets out insouciantly enough, galloping around the Holy Land, still under Ottoman rule, accompanied by Aziz, her lusty Arab dragoman. On horseback, in her flowing muslim dress, she's every bit the eccentric British colonial. But as she takes in the sites, traveling in search of biblical flowers, particularly mandrakes, Beatrice falls prey to the visionaries and pilgrims, dreamers and predators she meets. Her religious ecstasy clearly teeters on the psychotic as she becomes mired in the morass of the Holy Land ... until an act of brutality calls her entire future into question." --Book Jacket.
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