Friday, March 15, 2013


N.G. Osborne
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Cranham & Keith Books (October 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 061569540X
ISBN-13: 978-0615695402

Book Description:
On a dusty, sweltering night, Noor Khan, a beautiful, headstrong Afghan refugee, comes face-to-face with Charlie Matthews, a brash, young American aid worker. To Noor's fury, Charlie breaks every cultural norm and pursues her. She wants nothing to do with him: her sole aim in life is to earn an overseas scholarship so she can escape the miseries of the refugee camps.

However when Noor's brother threatens to marry her off, she is forced to seek refuge in Charlie's home, of all places, and suddenly everything Noor believes in is put into question.

Set in the mystical and seething city of Peshawar, where no one is without an agenda and few can be trusted, Refuge is a timeless and unforgettable love story about the struggle for love and purpose in a cruel and cynical world.

Idgie Says:
I am so pleased that this book found it's way into my hands.  At first I thought it might simply be an interesting view into Middle Eastern life and actions, the repression of the women, etc., but it turned into much more.

It is of the tragic love story genre, but not in a gushy, mushy, sobbish style.  The book tells a true to life story filled with heart and characters that come alive on the page.  The depictions of life in a fictional town near the Afghanistan border are spot on - you can practically smell the market and see the dust swirling around ankles as people trudge through the crowds.  The miseries and injuries inflicted by the enemy mines surrounding these towns are described in perfect, horrid detail.  The dialogue flows nicely with no stilted, odd or unrealistic turns of phrase.

There are several characters in the book that I very much liked and would enjoy talking to over a dinner table were they real people.  Walli and Noor's father I would enjoy spending time with very much.  Noor and Charlie are believable characters who are relate-able in their feelings, thoughts and dreams.

In your face facts regarding the complete oppression and slave-like lives of the woman are related to us via the story and what makes them so horrible is the intelligence that is clearly shown in the female characters in the book. These woman are not empty drones waiting for a man to guide them.  Instead they all have hopes and dreams and brains that work, but also realize that this is not a world they have any control over themselves. 

This novel shows all of the characters in his Middle Eastern land as real humans - with emotions, fears and hopes.  Some filled with humor and some with hatred, but real all the same.  The author has done a wonderful job of helping you to see the anonymous people in countries that are often disregarded and spit on as every day people just trying to live their lives - and thrive if they are able.

The ending leaves it wide open for a follow up novel, which I do hear is being written.  So I sit here, tap my fingers impatiently............... and wait.