More than a love story ... more than a coming-of-age novel ... Behind the Closed House chronicles the journey of a young woman whose struggles mirror those of her beloved country, Afghanistan.
Zulaikha finds post-9/11 Afghanistan a hostile land for women who dream of getting an education and an even more hostile place for those who dare to dream of teaching. She should know. As long as she could remember, she had wanted only one thing - to teach.
Hafeez, once a top-notch freedom fighter who helped to drive the Soviet Union out of the country also discovered that Afghanistan, fast becoming nothing more than the pawn of the Taliban regime senses the change. He is transformed from a well-respected neighbor and friend to an emotionally crippled man following the death of his wife.
Refusing to accept a society in which women are sold in marriage, she's vulnerable as a single woman whose parents have recently died. Despite this, she's determined that nothing will stop her from proclaiming the human rights of women in this country - and never loses sight of her ultimate dream, to teach.
After a series of tragedies it appears she may have broken free from the mores of the political climate and found true love.
But can either survive the cruelest act of a vengeful madman?
A coming of age historical romance novel which will take you through Zulaikha's emotional and powerful journey.
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- Lauren Moldvay
A Truly Unique Historical Story with some Romance!
This isn't always a pleasant read but the difference in perspective is incredibly refreshing. I've always enjoyed historical romance but the entire genre skews very much from the western perspective. Zulaikha and Hafeez's struggles and journeys in Afghanistan were fascinating. The romance isn't the driving force of the story, so if you're looking for straight ahead romance you might want to look elsewhere but this book is such a great read. The main themes of the story center around keeping hope and the drive to succeed alive when things beyond your control derail your dreams. It's inspirational and Taghreid El Zein's writing will transport you to another place.
Nicki Gallo's voice work brought all the characters to life so convincingly! I was transported by this story and Nicki Gallo's voice.