I am a reader first and a writer second. However, these days there is not a balance between the two.. I have been intending to read No More Mulberries by Mary Smith for some time and took the opportunity to download during her free offer recently. There are an impressive number of excellent reviews for the book and I knew I was not going to be disappointed.
No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.
British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?
My Five Star review for No More Mulberries.
First let me say that this book should be made into a film as it has all the ingredients of a action packed love story.
It is visually stunning and I found myself completely involved in the people and locations such as the village of Sang-i- Sia that Mary Smith uses as the backdrop to the unfolding story. Combined with the increasing conflict between the various factions in the region it has an element of danger that brings even more tension to the central theme.
All the characters had wonderful depth and some of the minor personalities stood out for me as well. Including Ismail an old and trusted friend from her previous life in Zardgul and his gentle and wise wife Usma.
There is a love triangle between midwife Miriam, Iqbal her second husband and Jawad her charismatic first husband who died tragically, and whose death she has not fully come to terms with. Through flashbacks, Mary Smith masterfully takes us through each of their lives, revealing the secrets and events that have brought them to a crisis point in Miriam and Iqbal’s marriage.
I came to admire Miriam who felt out of place in her native Scotland and embraced the cultural differences of living in a small Afghan village with enthusiasm and humour. She does everything she can to be accepted by learning the language and adopting the role of a traditional wife and mother. Relationships can be daunting at the best of time, but add in the inability to communicate,no running water, basic cooking facilities and harsh extremes of weather in an isolated environment, and fortitude is required.
I did sympathise with Iqbal who clearly loves Miriam but finds it very difficult to deal with the ghosts of his past, and the ghost of Jawad who he feels is the third person in their marriage. He wants to be a good father to Farid who was just a toddler when his father died, but Miriam has also been trying to keep the memory of Jawad alive for her son, who is now confused. The light in their marriage however is provided by the delightful little girl, Ruckshana who is unaware of the tension and shines her love on all of them.
This is a complex relationship but the story is written in such a way that you come to understand and empathise with all the players in the drama. Mary Smith brings her extensive experience of living and working in Afghanistan and Pakistan into this story, creating a wonderful tapestry of life, love, danger and redemption.
I highly recommend you read the book.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US
And: Amazon UK
A selection of other books by Mary Smith
Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US
and: Amazon UK
Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/
If Mary’s book is on your TBR I hope you will read sooner rather than later… and if it is not as yet part of your future, please head over and buy. Thanks Sally