A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was sent this audio book for free by the author; thank you, Libby!
I forgot, while reading this book, that it was fiction, as it felt like a real story. The book was obviously well- researched. I was only slightly older than Anna when all these events happened in Iran. It's about Anna, a college student in Chicago, the daughter of a German physicist father and a French mother (her parents were divorced and she lived with her father, mainly), who meets Nouri Samedi, a wealthy Iranian engineering grad student. They fall in love and after her graduation, they decide to go to Iran and get married, and start a life there. Anna is hoping for a wonderful family life, something she felt she never had with her own family. But political events are happening in Iran, and the setting is just prior to the Shah's fall. At first, her life in Iran is wonderful, her in-laws embrace her, her husband is loving and doting, and Anna starts to make friends with another American woman, also the wife of an Iranian. As all the political upheaval starts to happen, things change in the Samedi household and Nouri doesn't know how to cope with the change. He and his family turn against all things American, including Anna. My only complaint is how quickly Nouri changes for the worst, and without any explanation about why he suddenly falls out of love with Anna. He doesn't talk with her and I'm confused why everything is suddenly her fault, and, literally, it happens almost overnight. I was just as distressed as Anna was, over how horrible her life becomes. I was so angry with Nouri!
The book is beautifully written and I feel like I learned so much about the time, the politics, and Iran as a country, and about the people. I was wary of Anna marrying Nouri and moving to Iran from the beginning, as I immediately thought about the book, Not Without My Daughter, and knew what dangers Anna would face once married and living in that society, and how her rights as a woman would be eroded.
I highly recommend this book, and I loved the audio narration. I could hardly wait for my daily commute to/from work each day, just so I could listen! Kudos to the author for a wonderful, believable story about true events that I remember so well happening in my youth.
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