I love that J.M. Windle’s books don’t end with all happily ever after. Veiled Freedom ends well, just not everyone is “saved” by the end. It is the type of book that I have come to expect from her and she hasn’t disappointed with this one. I really thought the main character was going to be returning to Afghanistan, ex-special Forces veteran, Steve Wilson. Yes he has a very large part of this story, but the main character is really Amy Mallory and the woman she is there to help.
When Steve returns to Afghanistan after being gone 8 years he is shocked at how close to the Taliban rule everything has become again. Where is the freedom he fought so hard for? Why are the burqas back in force? Was it even worth the lose of human life that he witnessed? He has been hired to protect the new Minister of Interior and he will do that and do it well. He is not excited to be back, but the job pays well and he can do his job without getting involved with the people again.
Amy comes to Afghanistan for the first time. It was her dream a long time ago to come when America liberated the country form the Taliban. She finally has her chance, but it isn’t at all what she expected. When she is meet at the airport by her driver, he refuses to take her in his car until she puts a burqa on. She finds the man she is replacing leaving in an hour, so a crash course in store for her as to how things are run. She has little or no training from the organization that sent her and she doesn’t even know that she isn’t safe staying in the building that houses her non-profit group.
Two very different people in country for two very different reasons. Put together because the foreigners always stick together and I am sure Steve couldn’t stand to see a pretty girl get in trouble.
This book is a very candid look at life in Afghanistan with the new democracy. It is not what we think of as freedom. They have the freedom to follow Islamic law. They have the freedom to have the mullahs tell them right from wrong. They still have the freedom to follow traditions set thousands of years ago. To me none of them seemed like true freedom. I know after reading this book, one of the best things for me to do is not go to an Islamic law-run country. I am not sure I wouldn’t be thrown out very quickly.
But this book is well worth the read and it is interesting to see that the way of thinking over there hasn’t changed, and I am not sure there is anything our government can do anything about it as it is the law for them. The funny thing is that they pick and choose which of the “laws” to obey as it fits their needs and how powerful they are. Interesting. Also very interesting to me is that under this new democracy woman are still property of their families. They actually have no freedom. Hmm…
I do and will recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a thought provoking book that has a very good storyline to go with it.