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368 Pages • 5.5'' x 8.5''

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Madwoman of Bethlehem

by: Rosine Nimeh-Mailloux

In mid-20th century Bethlehem, a woman finds that the only way to take control of her life is to feign madness. It is 1957, and Amal is an inmate of the "Bethlehem Oasis for Troubled Women," having feigned insanity for nine years in order to avoid being put to death for the murder of her abusive husband. When a violent attack by a fellow inmate confines her to bed, Amal must not only heal physically, but must also come to grips with her traumatic memories. These take her back to the harsh childhood, restricted life, and violent marriage that culminated in her "madness" and incarceration. Amal must find the strength to forgive the past and take control of her future.




“This honest debut novel … could have been the story of any woman living in any patriarchal community anywhere in the world.  … Is Amal insane, or is her insanity feigned as a survival mechanism in an insane world? The author subtly raises this questions, hinting at a parallel between Amal’s mental breakdown and the breakdown of a whole nation.”
- Herizons Magazine, Winter 2010

“A good novel makes a reader feel like they know a character… Despite the fact that Amal’s story takes place fifty years ago or that she grew up in a culture completely different than mine, I felt a connection with her. She was not a Middle Eastern woman; she was a woman. And I became not only a woman, but a Middle Eastern woman, in a way. I felt her anger and entrapment; I understood her bitterness.”
- The New Pages, 2009
“Amal … is me and you when we learn to stand up to abuse against women and children. Whether you’re looking for a bit of inspiration or simply a good page-turner, you’ll find it in The Madwoman of Bethlehem. I didn’t want to put the book down. It is an emotional trip, from tears to laughter and back again.”
- The Feminist Review blog, 2009


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