A Bitter Veil
by Libby Hellmann
Genre: Thriller, Political
A World Literary Cafe book
Anna is in love. It is 1977 and Nouri Samedi is alluring and wonderful, sharing her beliefs about society and her passion for change. She is delighted to marry him and move with him to Iran to finally become part of a family. Leaving her Chicago home and her father, she travels to Iran with her new husband to learn a new way of life and a new culture.
Anna and Nouri know that the nation is on the brink of revolution. But their fervent belief that the country is headed for a peaceful transition to parliamentary democracy prevents them from fearing the change. Unfortunately, their beliefs prove false. Will their relationship weather the violent changes to the country led by the Ayatollah Khomeini? Will they survive the new regime?
Bitter Veil was a fascinating look into culture, preconceptions, power, belief, and the chaos that comes from revolution. Anna transitions from idealistic college student to undeceived prisoner of war. Her understanding of the world transforms as she faces the things she didn’t understand before.
The aspects of mystery Libby wove into the story brought excitement and suspense to an already tense story. I loved the way she handled the reader’s gradual understanding of the truth to craft the mystery that trapped Anna in an Iranian prison.
I love books about other cultures, and I wasn’t disappointed in this one. Details about Iranian life and culture made the story sparkle. The subject also resonates with all of the current events that deal with that area of the world. I love to understand other points of view, and I appreciate the research and care taken with the subject.
Libby didn’t leave out the important gray areas of atrocity that make them real instead of just “good guys vs. bad guys” stories. The parallels to many other nations’ revolutions and dark periods were not forgotten. This work was an excellent contemplation on turbulent political times and what they do to families and individuals.