**DISCLAIMER: This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by Open Book Publishers.**
A romance laced with tragedy from the beginning. American woman, Kathryn, and Pakistani-born Muslim man, Rashid, fall in love whilst working in Dubai and get married. With the blessing of both families, they move to the US to start their new life together.
Several years into their marriage, Rashid’s father is killed in a US drone attack. The couple’s cultural differences become too enormous to ignore when Rashid ultimately has to decide between his US family, and his family in Pakistan. Kathryn and Rashid’s differing views on justice and revenge will decide both of their fates.
The beginning of this novel built on the characters beautifully, and it was a very engaging read. The couple has to work together to make their cross-cultural family a success. Their experiences of their time spent in Pakistan with Rashid’s family were exquisitely detailed. But it’s obvious from the get-go, that Rashid is battling with his love for his US family, and the life and family he had in Pakistan. His mother and brothers expect him to follow their cultural norms relating to getting revenge when his father is killed. Reading about his struggles was so heart-wrenching.
However, the children, Michael and Andrew, were the ones I felt most sympathy for. They couldn’t comprehend what had happened and were lied to about what happened to their father. Kathryn had to protect them, but later into the book you understand the impact shielding them from everything had on the boys.
The issue I found with this book is when you hit the middle, everything quickly falls flat. The characters lose their initial sparkle, and the time skipping makes it feel as though you’re missing out on a lot of their story. I feel that even if the book had to be longer to include this missing time, then it would have been worth it.
The ending was also quite disappointing for me, it didn’t feel like a conclusion was drawn about what happened, or that any questions about Rashid’s relationship with his families were fully answered.
It’s definitely a dark read with themes of Terrorism, revenge, and emotional abuse. It’s not a read for the faint-hearted and can be very disturbing at times.
For all of the reasons mentioned, I’m going to give this book 3.5/5 stars. I felt the beginning half itself was good enough to warrant and 3 1/2 rating, but it’s a shame about the middle to end of the book. This book had a lot of potential to be given a five-star rating.