Author: Deborah Rodriguez
Total pages: 375
Total approximate words: 93700
The story is set in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. It starts in a village in the mountain where a goon abducts a young Afghani woman Yasmina, from her uncle who could not pay of his debt on time. Helpless, the uncle unable to do much about it, watches her niece being taken way forcefully, with frustration and a heavy heart. He had to pay off the debt before the next summer, or else, the younger niece would be taken away by these goons too, and sold as a slave to some wealthy Arab.
Yasmina, who was newly pregnant, and lost her husband in the ongoing war, was shaking with fear as the goons put her in the back seat of the SUV. She knew that if they found out that she was pregnanat, she would be of no use to them and therefore might kill her. She was scared for her unborn child. When one of them made an advance on her, he immediately found the small bump on her belly. Raged with anger, the goons decide to throw her away from the vehicle in the streets. Physically hurt, but relieved that her life was spared. She manages to find out the Women's Ministry, and there she meets Sunny.
Sunny is an American woman who came to Kabul with her boyfriend. She owns and runs a coffee shop with Halajan, another Afghani woman, much older than Sunny and Bashir Hadi, an afghani man. She invites Yasmina to stay with her and work in her coffee shop. Yasmina, who is still shaking from all that has happened, agrees but keeps her pregnanacy a secret.
Isabel, an English journalist, and Candace, an American, ex wife of a consular are regular visitors of the café, so is Jack, another American, and loads of other expatriates, and mercenaries.
Isabel wants to find out the truth behind the drug peddling among young Afghan women and their disappearance, while Candace wants to help her new enigmatic Afghani boyfriend to raise money for his school of homeless boys.
Despite the women having reservations against each other in the beginning, eventually become great friends, and support each other in their respective endeavors. Through many twists and turns in the story, surprising truths unfolds for each of the central characters towards the end. The plot concludes with Sunny planning to move back to America, after breaking up with her boyfriend, handing over the coffee shop to Halajan, who apparently had a secret lover, Yasmina giving birth to a baby girl, and getting married to Halajan’s son, and Candace planning to stay back in Kabul. Isabel loses her life in a tragic bombing in the pursuit of truth.
The story has an energetic and vibrant vibe. From the description of Kabul, to the descriptions of the different characters, the whole mood of the plot is very engaging. Rodriquez is a great story teller, and it is apparent from the many surprises that unfolds through out the plot. The writing is easy to understand, and the pace is just perfect for a relaxed read. The characterization is done intricately keeping in mind the differences of each one of them.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would definitely wont mind reading this book again, or getting my hands on another book by Rodriguez! I would most certainly give this book a 8.5/10 rating, and I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did!