Scrupulously fair to both sides — The Sunday Times

The ancient city of Jaffa was for centuries the main port of the eastern Mediterranean, a city of traders, merchants, teachers and administrators, home to Muslims, Christians and Jews, while the produce of its orange groves was famed throughout the world. It was in Jaffa that Peter the apostle was said to have raised Dorcas from the dead, and where Richard the Lionheart defeated Saladin. It was here, too, that Napoleon stormed ashore in 1799, while from 1920 the British administered the city under the Mandate. It is in 1920 that City of Oranges begins.

Through the stories of six families - three Arab and three Jewish - City of Oranges illuminates the underlying complexity of modern Israel, telling the story from the Ashkenazi as well as from the very different Sephardic point of view, and from Christian Arab as well as from the Muslim perspective. Through the eyes of these families we understand how the founding of the state of Israel was simultaneously a moment of jubilation for the Jews, and a disaster - the Naqba - for the 100,000 Arabs who fled Jaffa in 1948, most of them never to return.

Read an extract from the first chapter of City of Oranges, as Julia Chelouche, a young Jewish woman, prepares for her wedding in Jaffa in the spring of 1921. But the city is about to explode into violence.