I have never read a book that was set in Afghanistan, and I really enjoyed it.
This is one of those books where there is so much going on when a coup happens at the palace Sitara and her family are staying. Imagine being a young child who is witnessing your families murder and being taken from your home by a soldier not knowing whether or not he is going to kill you. This is the part where I held my breath. I thought the author did such a good job touching on the hard issues without going into much detail. I was happy about that because there were a few instances when reading that I didn’t need to know anymore.
Two of the characters in this story, Tilly and her daughter Antonia, are the true heroes. Together they are able to get Sitara out of Afghanistan and to the United States where she is placed in foster care. The people she was placed with were not good. I knew that right when Sitara watched the lady of the house pulls keys out to lock and unlock doors. This is another instance where the author hints at the horrors that happen in that house, but doesn’t go into detail. Thankfully Sitara is reunited with Antonia and while she still struggles with her new reality, she goes on to be a successful surgeon. Then the soldier who saved her walks in and Sitara will stop at nothing to find out what really happened to her family that night.
You guys this is a story that is tragic and hopeful at the same time. A story about devastating loss, powerful bonds and love. I would highly recommend this to everyone.
Book Rating: 4.5/5
Wine Pairing: St Supéry Sauvignon Blanc
Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives.
Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon. A survivor, Aryana has refused to look back, choosing instead to bury the trauma and devastating loss she endured.
New York, 2008: Forty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge. Realizing that she cannot go on without finding the truth, Aryana embarks on a quest that takes her back to Kabul—a battleground between the corrupt government and the fundamentalist Taliban—and through shadowy memories of the world she loved and lost.