“The book dives into the lives of a Muslim-American family, opening on the eve of the eldest daughter’s marriage, and examines the intricacies of a family straddling two very different cultures.”



This is the story of Rafiq and Layla, who after an arranged marriage move to the United States. There they begin to have a family. Hadia and Huda are the daughters and the last child is a son, Amar.

The book begins at Hadia’s wedding. Hadia has married for love. She has invited her brother Amar to come to the wedding. He has been estranged from the family for years. The book then goes back into,time, detailing the story of the family. The children will have friends of a brother and sister named Abbas and Amira. Amar has loved Amira from when they were children and Hadia has admired Abbas from afar. Abbas, even though older, has befriended Amar and they are close.

These two relationships will be pivotal to the story, even though tragedy will cut one life short.

The other main part of the book is the relationship between Rafiq and Layla to their children. The girls will adore their Father while Amar will be much closer to,his mother.

Some of this story is heartbreaking as we see the problems that any family can have start to tear this family apart and yet their is such strong love in some ways which keeps part of the family together. There are two scenes in the book which are so emotional and remarkably written that I must mention them here. The entire wedding scene later in the book is so emotionally wrenching as the past and present come together and some hidden truths are finally revealed, and, in my opinion, the most touching scene in the book, is about the Father who comes home from work one night, and instead of going into the house through the front door, sneaks into the back yard and watches his family through the kitchen window as they interact without him being there. It is so well written that you will feel his pain as if it is your own.

The last part of the book is narrated by Rafiq as he talks to his son who is not there, describing his life to him.

So well written, just a beautiful book.

Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 6th November 2018

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Richard Franco