Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Review: The Ambassador's Wife by Jennifer Steil

From a real-life ambassador's wife comes a harrowing novel about the kidnapping of an American woman in the Middle East and the heartbreaking choices she and her husband each must make in the hope of being reunited.

When bohemian artist Miranda falls in love with Finn, the British ambassador to an Arab country, she finds herself thrust into a life for which she has no preparation. The couple and their toddler daughter live in a stately mansion with a staff to meet their every need, but for Miranda even this luxury comes at a price: the loss of freedom. Trailed everywhere by bodyguards to protect her from the dangers of a country wracked by civil war and forced to give up work she loves, she finds her world shattered when she is taken hostage, an act of terror with wide-reaching consequences.

Diplomatic life is a far cry from Miranda’s first years in Mazrooq, which were spent painting and mentoring a group of young Muslim women, teaching them to draw in ways forbidden in their culture. As the novel weaves together past and present, we come to see how Finn and Miranda’s idealism and secrets they have each sought to hide have placed them and those who trust them in peril. And when Miranda grows close to a child who shares her captivity, it is not clear that even being set free would restore the simple happiness that once was hers and Finn’s. Suspenseful and moving, The Ambassador’s Wife is a story of love, marriage, and friendship tested by impossible choices.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Expected publication: July 28th 2015 by Doubleday 
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! **

This was a beautiful story. In fact it was quite stunning. Steil pens a thought provoking and engaging story that touches on many different feelings and emotions. Told from different perspectives and different times, it weaves an intriguing story about a different culture and way of life. It touches a lot on the culture of Muslim women which I found quite fascinating. It also deals with terrorists and kidnapping which we hear about far too often in the news. I really liked the angle that this book took to tell the story and I really liked the characters who's story it told.

If I had to critique it at all I would have to say that there were a few times that it got long winded and followed a few rabbit trails. Not to worry though, the rest of it more than made up for those parts.

Sometimes less is more and this is one of those cases. I think the story will do better to speak for itself and there isn't a whole lot that I can say otherwise. It was an incredible read.

About the Author
Jennifer Steil is the author of the memoir The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, about her experience as a journalist living in Yemen. Before moving to Yemen in 2006, she was a senior editor at The Week, which she helped to launch in 2001. She currently lives in Bolivia, where her husband is European Union ambassador.

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