I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting look into the lives of three characters living in Baghdad during a time that is too cruel to be real. The beauty of Iraq and its history shines through, but it is coated in pain and loss. Something about how the book was written made reading about the extremely hard things they deal with bearable, although sad. Every time they made it through a hard situation though, I was reminded that there are many in real life who did not, and even the characters in the book who do escape, still lose in some way.
This story brings up morally difficult situations where no matter what, someone you care about gets hurt. And the moral burdens you have to bear aren't truly your fault. The book looks at how much freedom one is willing to sacrifice for safety, and the risks you take for family.
The story follows Huda, Ali, and Rania. Huda is a secretary for the Australian embassy which earns the attention of the secret police. They ask her to spy on Ali, the diplomat's wife. Ali and Huda develop a friendship that is true at it's core, even though it is surrounded by lies that neither wants to tell. Huda and Rania have a complicated relationship. They are childhood best friends that separated, but become important to each other again when difficulty pulls them together.