It has been a long time since a book kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning. But this one did, two nights in a row. I know that Hawke has a talent for helping you see the world through another pair of eyes, but this book was amazing.
Ameera has an Australian mother and a Pakistani father. As she finishes secondary school she is looking forward to university and a bright future. But her father is determined to keep her away from males of all ages until she is safely married. When one night she is caught at a party, her father decides to send her to Pakistan to visit his family. What he doesn’t say is that he has arranged a marriage for her, years ago, and her uncle is under instruction to ensure that the marriage takes place.
This was a brilliant read. Ameera’s story is told with great sympathy and understanding. Yes, while in Australia, she probably makes a few mistakes that trigger the whole story, but then I am not convinced that the father wasn’t going to act before she could go to uni anyway. So she is trapped in a tunnel without hope of escape, forced to proceed deeper into trouble.
Hawke has included a brief comment about the reality behind this story. Even though forced marriages are now illegal in Pakistan, tradition is not overturned by laws. Girls today are still living this nightmare. And I think that is the scariest thing about this book.