Blurb: In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. Sunny, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan – and fast – to keep her cafe and customers safe. Yazmina, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul’s violent streets. Isabel, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life. Candace, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil, and Halajan, the sixty-year-old mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules. As these five women discover there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will forever change their lives and the lives of many others.
Before anyone shouts ‘spoilers’, it’s a blurb, it is supposed to provide context. It’s not like trailers (which I have sworn off from), where they give away everythinggggg. Anyway, back to the novel.
I wanted to love it as much as I love Khaled Hosseini’s work. I’m mentioning him solely because this novel had been comparable to his novels, yet I just don’t see it. Sure, it is set in Afghanistan, under the rising tension of the Taliban. But the tone of the story is very different, which is supposed to be good than bad but it reached a point where I found myself forcing to read it because I bought it myself instead of borrowing it from the library. Yes, it is based on the author’s (Debbie Rodriguez) experience at her time in Kabul but I also think that is where it downfalls because it is too… ‘airy fairy’. It does feel like a ‘feel good’ novel which does feel awkward especially because of its historical setting. For a narrative that has five female leads, the Western women overshadow the Afghan natives (I hope that’s not an offensive term) which makes me feel.. meh, but because she hardly covers the struggles for Afghan women during this period (and now). Actually, whilst writing this review, I’m kind of hating it even more. Sorry! However, because I am born and raised in the Western world with Eastern values, I sympathise with all of the women, and the ending did want me to know what happened next. My negative viewpoints could be due to the high expectations I had of tears and sorrow, but I’ll leave it to Hosseini to destroy my emotions.
Have you read the novel, and what do you think of it? Obviously no spoilers for those who haven’t read it but I’d love to hear what other people think because I do sound like I’m being irrational. But I’ll keep doing more book reviews, especially since I am going home for the holidays soon! 🙂