This excellent book is primarily an observation into the issues of cross-cultural marriage, its joys and problems, as seen through the eyes of three women. However, it is also so much more, for not only does it delve into the lives of displaced Palestinian families living in America, it also shows us life in the refugee camps of Jordan, portrays the business of Palestinian weddings and takes us on a visit into Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The three main female characters represent three generations; Zainab, the elderly, recently bereaved mother-in-law, Margaret, married for twenty years to Zainab's son, Ahmed, and Alison, recently graduated and about to marry Zainab's younger son, Khaled. Zainab is a displaced Palestinian, living in America and Margaret and Alison are both American (although Alison has Syrian roots).
Tragically, the author died not long after publishing this book, so her planned sequel will never see the light of day - a sad loss for us all.
As a general rule, we are not an overly generous book group when it comes to the star ratings at the end of our discussion, but this novel was almost unanimously a 4/5 star book for our members. The author had planned, several months before, to join our meeting and we were were sorry not to be able to pass on our enthusiasm. However, we were very lucky to be able to invite one of her writer's group to our discussion to help explain some of the background to the story and fill us in on interesting editorial changes.
This is an excellent read, highly recommended...and the cover is stunning.