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Refuge

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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  370 ratings  ·  129 reviews
On a dusty, sweltering night, Noor Khan, a beautiful, headstrong Afghan refugee, comes face-to-face with Charlie Matthews, a brash, young American aid worker. To Noor's fury, Charlie breaks every cultural norm and pursues her. She wants nothing to do with him: her sole aim in life is to earn an overseas scholarship so she can escape the miseries of the refugee camps.

Howeve...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published October 4th 2012 by Cranham and Keith Books (first published October 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,294)
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Eileen
Before reading this book, I read 'Love in the Time of Cholera', a book about a so called 'epic love story'. It was everything, but that and boring too. I was hugely disappointed, because it didn't make me feel anything and it was in my opinion not about love at all, but about a sickly obsession. I was so relieved when I started to read 'Refuge'. I was in need of a real good book that would make me fall in love with its characters that would make me feel, laugh and cry. It's one of the best and m...more
Meera
Mar 22, 2013 Meera rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nobody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kellie is a bookwhoreasaurus
**Slight Spoilers in Here**

Pakistan 1991

Charlie Matthews is an American, that has done his stint in the Gulf War, now on assignment as an Aid worker in Pakistan as a deminer all he wants to do is get though it and then open a dive shop in Belize.

Noor Khan is an Afghanistani refugee in Pakistan, living in a refugee camp, all she wants to be is equal and free.

The thing that captivated me about this book is that it played out like a movie. So many interwoven characters and storylines that all le...more
Susan Anderson
Epic! Sweeping! Can't put down! Read in one sitting kind of book! I loved this novel and cried throughout, starting from the first chapter. If books like LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA appeal to you so will REFUGE. With its timeless love story and exotic backdrop, the parallels are obvious. Charlie & Noor are at the center but they are surrounded by a cast of characters just as interesting, funny, vile and tortured. Wali is a stand out character and offers a sense of hope and optimism in what i...more
Kathy
I am torn because I loved this sweet, complex love story, the setting, and the eye-opening look at the horrific conditions many women in the Middle East are subjected to (I am seriously SO glad to live in America!). BUT...just be aware ahead of time that this is the first of a probable three-part series. I was not aware of that fact as I was reading the book, and when I got to the end, I was extremely frustrated, and, yes, ANGRY!!! How could the author leave me hanging like this??? I think if I...more
Charlotte Boundy
This is one of the most beautiful and deeply moving novels that I have read in a long time. Set in 1991, in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, we are introduced to two people from two very different worlds who accidentally meet setting in motion an unforgettable love story.
Charlie, a young Gulf War veteran has been employed by a demining agency whose expectations of any success or progress in the region to be unlikely and low. Whilst getting used to the pace of the city he bumps into Noor, a twenty...more
Jessica
I absolutely hated this book!(Not really.) I hated how it made me feel angry at the end of it, I hated how I couldn't get it out of my mind after I was done reading it. I hated the fact that I yearned for more after flipping through the last page of the book. I hated how much it made me laugh, smile, and most importantly cry. I hated the fact that I was so entranced by this book, that I took it personal when things didn't work out as planned for the two main characters. I hate having to think "w...more
Maria
What can be more compelling than forbidden love? Refuge introduces us to two unlikely lovers, Charlie a US aid worker and Noor, a headstrong Afghani refugee now living in Peshawar.

From the opening chapters, where we are introduced to Noor's family as they flee Afghanistan and Charlie, a 25 year old Gulf War veteran who wants to make a difference in the world, to the compelling final chapter, I could not put this book down.

Not only are we introduced to the two main characters, but we are captivat...more
Miss
Oct 30, 2013 Miss added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I am not going to give this book a star rating due to the fact that I had to dnf it at 50%.

OMG! I cannot STAND this heroine! There is nothing I hate more than a self righteous heroine. I find her even more disgusting since compared to 98% of the other females who live in refugee camps, she has had it EASY! She has made it to adulthood retaining her virtue (as far as I know), she has a job, she has HOPE for her future. While so many other's just exist! The fact that she is aware of her "righteous...more
Toni Osborne
Book 1, in the Refuge Trilogy

“Refuge” is a touching, timeless and unforgettable love story set in the mystical and seething city of Peshawar, Pakistan. This story was inspired from experiences working as a young aid worker teaching school in an Afghan refugee camp and the author’s words truly shines throughout this wonderful book. Although a fiction this novel seems quite real.

This brilliantly romantic drama showcases a world where the right to love is lethal and freedom for women is non-existe...more
Adriana
This book was so different to what I have been reading lately it really lets you explore another culture and its people and amongst it all is forbidden romance . It was a beautiful story and I can't wait for book 2.
type95
Dec 03, 2013 type95 rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: crap
I kind of expected this book, not only to focus on the romance side as suggested in the blurb ("a timeless and unforgettable love story"), but to enlighten of the hardships of Noor, the harsh landscape, the political turmoil - to fully envelope in this mystical, exotic, harsh world time in the middle east.
Did it do it for me?

No...no it did not.

A short and succinct list to what contributed to my lack of interest in the story:

- there was a lack of depth and realism to the characters (development,...more
Colleen
I had the opportunity to read this book and provide feedback to the lovely author, N.G. Osborne. The storyline of this book flowed beautifully--it was like watching a movie unfold within the pages. By the end of the book I was incredibly attached to the characters Noor, Charlie, and Wali. Osborne's characters are very loveable, and despite being written in the third-person you don't feel cheated out of getting to know the main players of Noor or Charlie. Noor at first is very pigheaded with her...more
Beeg Panda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

This book was a complicated one for me, because I really liked the overall story, but I still had some issues with it that definitely got in the way of the reading experience. The plot follows three main characters: Charlie, an American who has moved to Peshawar, Pakistan to work for a company called Mine Aware that hopes to demine villages and fields in Afghanistan; Noor, an Afghan refugee who teaches at a girl's school and hopes to get...more
Nancy
This book is so full of cliches and implausibilities that it was hard to read. I was constantly wincing. I was annoyed by the author's device of putting an inner monologue for the characters in italics. Someone compared this book to Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. No no no not even close! I'll be more careful purchasing inexpensive Kindle books.
Katarzyna
This is by far one of the best books I've read in a long time. A very touching story of a young refugee girl whose life is suddenly changed. Faced with three possible outcomes, the story keeps the reader in suspense as the it unfolds. I could not put this book down and read it in two days!
Peggy Trujillo
After spending six months in Afghanistan, I began to have a greater appreciation for the people of Afghanistan, and gained an interest in their history, and what they have gone through during various occupations of their country. Although I'm not typically into romance books, the romantic tale weaved into this story was compelling, and now I need to get the next book, as this one leaves the reader on a cliffhanger.
From here on out, there may be spoilers. *************
Much of the story focuses on...more
Angela Tan
Absolutely refreshing! I haven't read a book quite like this one 'cause I obviously haven't read books like Love in the Time of Cholera and books by Khaled Hosseini, which is a pretty sad fact right there (But I PROMISE to start reading more mature novels from now on, I've really been missing out). I love how poetic Osbourne writes and his vivid description of Pakistan, its beauty as well as its horrors, took me across the world and showed me real life for Middle Eastern women in 1991. As someon...more
Kathy DeShong
This was a fascinating look into the lives of refuge families in Pakistan and Afghanistan and how power warps the best of families. The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars was at the end of the book, it left you hanging because now, you find it is book one of a trilogy. Bad news like that I want to know up front and on the cover. Since it wasn't, I had expectations for a strong ending, like the entire body of the book was! It had a weak, disappointing ending. Book two apparently is av...more
Mickey Phillips
Noor is an Afghani refugee who fled to a Peshawar refugee camp with her family in 1981. During her families escape from Afghanistan her mother is shot and killed and her death ends up being the reason why the family gets out of the country at all, though they never make their intended destination of America.

Charlie is an American aid worker and war vet who went to Peshawar to lead a demining project. His reasons for being there are kind of shallow as he just wants to earn some money to open a di...more
Lisa
REFUGE is N.G. Osborne’s debut novel about an impossible love between a man and a woman from vastly different circumstances. Yet despite the odds they meet and fall in love. And, of course, obstacles abound to prevent them from the one thing they want most… each other.

It’s a familiar scenario we all love. However, this is a not a novel about a vampire and a human, or a dystopian world of a distant future. This story takes place in our world… in Pakistan circa 1991 and is about the unlikely and v...more
Holly
Where to begin?! I'm heartbroken, literally so heartbroken and angry I could cry. I genuinely feel very emotional right now. I'm devastated for Noor and I wish all kinds of sadistic cruelty on Tariq.

These characters are all very real. I adore Wali, he is by far my favourite character and I sincerely hope we haven't heard the last from him!!

Having seen other reviews that mentioned Tariq, I was desperately looking for redeeming qualities or reasons for what he has become - there are none. There is...more
Nicole
When I first started this book, I had a hard time getting into because I thought reading a story written in present tense was a little strange, and it kind of threw me off. But, I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. The story was really good! I thought the characters were realistic, and their motivations and actions were believable (which is not true of a lot of novels today). I also thought that reading about such a different culture/history was fascinating! It was also fascinating (and heartbrea...more
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Oh man, this book made me EMOTIONAL. And that's something for me, usually I just sit there like a psychopath without feeling anything for the characters.

This means that these characters had substance. And hell yes they did.

Noor, Noor, Noor. As someone who comes from an Asian family, I kind of do understand your plight. And Noor was so relatable to me. However sometimes I wanted to reach through into the book and start beating up the chauvinist pigs in there when Noor was too well mannered to do...more
Sweeta
This story is so captivating because there is so much deceit and every character is so damn self servant except for Charlie and Bushra. Once you allow yourself to hope and dream along with Noor, the whole damn book goes to hell! The bad guys make there presence known and it just FREAKIN SUCKS!
I don't think I've ever been so infuriated by charcters before.
I think it is because the subject matter is so real and the consequences are so dire.
Noor is everything a heroine should be: intelligent, slo...more
Jules
According to the blurb on amazon "Osborne spent twelve months as a volunteer for Project Trust working in a school and the Afghan refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. This experience was the inspiration for this novel." I just wanted to highlight that because it really does shine through in this book. In my sheltered little world it was a small window into another culture; a fascinating glimpse which at times was shocking and heart-breaking and others uplifting or funny. There is enough in the d...more
Karin Müller
Bei diesem Buch war schon nach wenigen Seiten klar, dass es eine 5 Sterne Bewertung bekommen wird. Das lag vor allem an der Schreibweise des Autors, denn die ist fesselnd, bildhaft und ... einfach gut, man kann es nicht anders sagen!
Aber auch der Rest hat mich begeistert: Die Stadt Peschawar als Schauplatz, die gut ausgearbeiteten Charaktere allen voran Charlie und Noor und die durchaus realistische Handlung. Das Buch gibt dem Leser einen kleinen Einblick in eine Welt, die man sonst nur aus den...more
Shohina Khanom
I've always shied away reading stories that would take place in a different war era or full of violence. This book had proved me wrong since my sister had recommended me this story and I loved how this book portrayed a pure and innocent love story between two people: Charlie (An American vet soldier) and Noor (An Afghani refugee who is also a teacher) who come from different worlds during the Gulf War era and how their relationship builds up when Noor and her family take refuge in Charlie's hous...more
Joanna  Mongelluzzo
OMG...this book was AMAZING! I read it in less than 2 days...I am sure I would of finished it in one day if not for work getting in the middle of my reading!

I loved Charlie and Noors story. I love books that make me cry and this book truly made me cry. It is a novel about a forbidden love between two people from different cultures. From the very beginning the story caught my attention and it was very hard to put the book down. The book has a lot of characters and I love how the author describes...more
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I grew up in Angus, Scotland and from there went south to England for my schooling at Winchester College. At eighteen I took a detour to Peshawar, Pakistan where I taught both Pakistani school children and Afghan refugees and then returned a year later and went on to university at Oxford where I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

After Oxford, I had a burning desire to be in the film indus

...more
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“Trust your feelings never disown your instincts.” 9 likes
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