LOVED this book.  Picked it up having no idea what it was about – a book club selection that I was trying to get started on before the big move.  It took me 2.5 days to get through.  I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to know what happened and when things would magically get better – when would the fairy godmother descend and whisk the women away in a pretty horse-drawn carriage?

The entire story is beautifully written.  While loaded with imagery, it’s not the sort that bogs you down or bores you.  It’s not nearly as wordy as Dickens, to be sure.  I could imagine the Afghan city though I have left the US only once, and for Jamaica.  I could hear rockets whistling in my ears, and picture the kolba like it was right next door. 

The characters had depth, but again, just enough.  I didn’t feel there was a single detail that left you shaking your head asking, "What was that about?"  Each character was rich and three dimensional.  You loved the good and hated the bad.  I cheered for the two primary female characters,  and cursed the primary male character more times than I can count.  I felt like I was reading someone’s memoirs for most of the book.

The ending was heartbreaking both in its actual ending and the thought that its probably more real for many people than we know.  I wanted to cry in sadness, relief, and joy.  While I wished that some things had ended differently, I realize that they ended the way they had to.  Any other end would have been unbelievable – it would have cheapened the book and made it something more like a fairytale.  I loved this book!