I was given a review copy of the novel by the author and asked to provide an independent review.
Reading this on Kindle, for the first 20% of the book, I kind of liked it, but it wasn't holding my attention. But, wow, as soon as I got to 20%, I sprinted through this book and could not put it down. I've never been to Qatar, the nearest I managed was Bahrain, but I love reading and learning about other cultures. There were plenty of twists to keep me enthralled and I couldn't have foreseen the ending.
On the surface, this is a book about arranged marriages, but it goes so much deeper than that. With a great deal of it set in the UK, where the girls are students, it was a lot easier for me to visualise the scenes and attitudes of others.
I could clearly see the girls' apartment, feel the chemistry between certain individuals, understand the frustration of each of the main characters.
Duty, what is honourable, permitted and frowned upon were key elements throughout the novel and in particular women's place in Qatari society.
I loved how the girls rebelled and the presence of an Indian girl, with a similar, but not identical, background, only added to the intrigue. I also felt I learned a lot about both cultures.
The tragedy at the beginning of the book, the loyalty of the younger sister and some of the outrageous events later (culturally) only added to my enjoyment.
All in all, a novel worth reading, particularly if you like to learn about new cultures or if you have ever been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes with regards to arranged marriages.