I was completely captivated by this book. It instantly transported me to Baghdad during Sadam Hussein's reign when its citizens had to constantly be wary of the mukhabarat, where the slightest perceived indiscretion could lead to death. I empathized with the strong female leads, Huda and Raina, who were put into precarious positions while simply trying to protect their families. At the end of the book, I was even more fascinated to learn that the premise of Huda being an informant for the mukhabarat was inspired by the authors' own experience of befriending someone who turned out to be an informant. Were Ally and Huda or the author and her informant really friends? I believe the twist ending reveals the truth. The book also surprised me by reminiscing of a Baghdad I'd never heard of; one prior to his reign that was a forward thinking, thriving, tourist friendly location. This was the Baghdad Huda and Raina yearned for and the one it will hopefully return to.