This book had it all for me: love, romance, exotic culture,
tragedy, mystery, and relationships. I finished it in a day and highly
is a member of a Yemeni family cursed by generational honour killings. That
this blood revenge between clans commenced before he was born and has taken the
life of an innocent sister does not make things any safer for him, and he is
forced in 1966 to find refuge and make a new home for himself in Birmingham in
the UK. Here he falls in love with Mary, a Catholic from Northern Ireland. Mary
brings to their relationship dreams and conflicts of her own.
woman should be honoured and respected but a man should have control.’ This
Yemeni attitude towards women interpreted in a modern British context is very
well described, as are the problems it creates. Whilst Salem longs for the
reassurance of his homeland and his religion, Mary seeks meaning from sources
personal to her. Differing cultural expectations, loneliness and depression
begin to consume the genuine love they have for each other until trouble from
an all too familiar source coats an already difficult situation with despair.
liked the villain. He was a good idea and his presence added that touch of
‘thriller’ to a novel that was largely relationship based. Because of this I
would like to have seen more of him, particularly throughout the middle of the
book at the time when the protagonist was struggling only with family issues.
It would have broken up the tension that was accelerating so rapidly that I thought
it was sure to end badly (happily, I was wrong), but it would also have better
linked the later activities of this character with his ominous presence earlier
in the novel. That is my only suggestion for improvement.
today remains largely a tribal culture, and because of the tragedy of their
ongoing civil war as well, Yemeni women are exposed to discrimination and
violence. I bore this in mind as I read this very interesting novel. It is
dedicated to ‘peace, hope and tolerance.’
In : Book Reviews