Friday, July 31, 2015
Book Review: The Ambassador's Wife by Jennifer Steil
Jennifer Steil is an ambassador's wife. In the book, she writes about one in a fictional country that closely mirrors Yemen, where she lived with her ambassador husband. They're now in Bolivia.
Miranda, an American artist in Mazrooz, falls in love with the British ambassador (newly posted) after she and her lesbian lover part ways. They quickly marry and have a daughter. Miranda teaches local girls art, including subversive art, while acting our her marital duties as well.
Miranda is kidnapped by an extremist terrorist group when out hiking with friends. She is then put in charge of suckling a very important girl baby, having left her own nursing child behind. Predictably, she is rescued but then her and her husband need to deal with the aftermath of the kidnapping.
This book is vivid and has a real grasp of a time and place - that of an ambassador's wife in a Muslim, Arab country. That part of it is lovely. I enjoyed the story but must admit that the viewpoint at times did turn entitled and judgmental. Steil seems conflicted by both her own place, and Miranda's, in this world.
This book can be lovely. It won't be loved by all.