Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > A Thousand Veils

A Thousand Veils by D.J. Murphy
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Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

A THOUSAND VEILS is not a traditional young adult book. But the story will have appeal for older teens as well as adults. In our post 9/11 days, the cultures of the Middle East and America are extremely separate.

D. J. Murphy writes a compelling and page-turning suspense novel. A note on the copyright page alerts the reader that the events are inspired by and in part based on a true story. Having read that notice, I was skeptical on how the story would present itself. I shouldn't have doubted Murphy's ability to craft an amazing tale.

The reader is captured from the first pages. Fatima Shihabi is awakened during the night by a cryptic phone call. She knows immediately that her life is in danger and she must flee within the hour. From that moment on, the story unfolds with heart-stopping terror and anticipation.

Fatima has grown up in Iraq and loves her country and her family with all her heart. What she doesn't love is the deterioration of her culture under Saddam Hussein's regime. As a writer, she has been able to publish women and children interest stories in her country. But after subtly injecting a jab at the government in one of her articles, she is imprisoned and tortured. Only by her brother's connections in the government is she freed.

After her scare, she returns to fluff pieces that will not get her into trouble. But that doesn't last long, and after the fateful call, she is on a journey for her freedom and her life.

With a call to her brother Omar in the United States, Fatima's life falls into the hands of an unlikely Wall Street lawyer, Charles Sherman. Charles is known for his big corporate deals, not for pro-bono refugee work. But his boss and mentor, Art, believes Charles is the right one for the case, having spent many years in Saudi Arabia brokering deals for the Arabs. Unknowingly, Charles is not content with his current life. Taking on Fatima's case will cause a life-altering change.

Charles and Fatima eventually meet on foreign soil and, through intellectual conversations, they come to know and love each other. Fatima points out the failings of the United States government, while giving insight into the women and the culture she has lived and loved. Charles returns repeatedly to his fascination with the veils that the women in Fatima's culture use to cover themselves. Fatima opens Charles' eyes, revealing that everyone wears a veil of some creation.

Murphy weaves the story beautifully. It captures the human spirit of survival and perseverance. Each character discovers hidden strengths and abilities that they never knew they had. The persecution and resistance Fatima encounters in every step of her journey will inflame the reader, and the ending will leave you amazed at the human spirit.
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