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In the Kingdom of Men
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In the Kingdom of Men

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  2,349 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
Raised in a two-room shack by her strict Oklahoma grandfather, Gin Mitchell knows a better life awaits her when she marries hometown hero Mason McPhee. Even so, nothing can prepare her for what’s to come when Mason takes a job with the Arabian American Oil company in 1960s Saudi Arabia.
Gin and Mason are given a home with marble floors, a houseboy to cook their meals, and
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Wow! This book starts so well. Ginny's voice as narrator is alive and engaging, her childhood is intriguing, there's the promise of a mystery concerning a drowned woman. But the liveliness doesn't last. Ginny is a self-centered character who is near impossible to like and the mystery takes forever to get going before being resolved in a sketchy way without any real answers.

The story is about Ginny's experience living in a compound in Saudi Arabia in 1967 while her husband works for an Arab-Ameri
Andi Stubbs
Based on the awesome first paragraph of this book, I really had high hopes for it. But I really didn't like how the heroine of the story transformed so quickly into a booze-guzzling housewife, and I found myself bored about halfway through and struggled to finish it. The first paragraph discusses that her husband was accused of murder, but the murder doesn't happen until the very end of the book... and it feels like the author was desperate to wrap things up quickly, because it was a rushed and ...more
Sam Woodfield
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
So I'm a little confused about how I feel about this novel, being unsure if I enjoyed it or not, and thats quite an unusual feeling having just read a book - I normally know what I think and find it easy to say if I like it or not, but this has confused me.
The novel follows Gin McPhee and her husband Mason as they move from middle America to Arabia in the early days of oil drilling in the Gulf. As Mason is away for long periods on the rig, Gin has to adjust to life as an American wife in an Isla
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel about Aramco, the oil company in Saudi Arabia with which I was an oil wife for five years. The story takes place in the late 1960s, about 12 years before my time. It is set in Abqaiq, where I lived for three months. So everything about it was really familiar to me.

The author does a very good job of describing life in an oil camp, and the odd sense of danger one feels most of the time while living in the Kingdom. She has great details. Sometimes I felt like she was overwriting, in
Julie Christine
The first two sentences of In the Kingdom of Men give us a portrait of the narrator and the mystery she sets out to reveal:

Here is the first thing you need to know about me: I’m a barefoot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma, and all the marble floors in the world will never change that.
Here is the second thing: that young woman they pulled from the Arabian shore, her hair tangled with mangrove—my husband didn’t kill her, not the way they say he did.

It’s a powerful opening, one of the finest I’ve rea
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited to read this one after I had downloaded the sample. And in the beginning, this story of a poor Oklahoma girl who marries and moves to Saudi Arabia with her oil worker husband, really sang. Virginia Mae McPhee (Gin) is the daughter of strong women. Her grandmother walks out on her preacher grandfather to make a better life for herself and her own daughter, Gin's mother. Gin lives with these two female influences until both her mother and grandmother die. At that point, she is for ...more
Holly S.
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got pulled into this story right away. On the surface, it's a kind of Mad Men Meets Aramco--1967 Americans drinking cocktails in an expat compound in Saudi Arabia. The book is well-researched, and author captures well the expat lifestyle of isolation, over-indulgence & busybody expat women.

I had been hesitant to read this book because the author had never been to Saudi Arabia. I did find the Arab character Abdullah and the Indian cook Yash to be both be "off" in behavior and especially in
I saw this book described as "Mad Men meets The Sheltering Sky." I've never actually read The Sheltering Sky, or watched Mad Men, but I'm pretty sure I get the gist. If this means it's American optimism and hubris in the Middle East meets midcentury modern style, killer clothes and sexism, then yes, that is just what this is. The writing is very nice, and there is a great thread of tension throughout that keeps the pages moving quickly, but everything takes a back seat to the mesmerizing setting ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Hmmm...not entirely sure what to say about this one. Parts of it were really interesting, about living in an oil camp in Saudi Arabia, but much of the story felt unbelievable and contrived. I didn't understand the main characters actions at times, and it was hard to know what she actually felt for the men in her life (husband, house boy, driver, and grandfather). And then the lack of conclusion...the opening lines set it up to be almost a mystery...but it doesn't deliver. Ultimately, it's an oka ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Virginia “Gin” Mitchell is a dreamer but life on a rural Oklahoma farm in 1968 is no fairy tale world, especially with a fundamentalist grandfather who finds infraction of religious law at every turn. When she ends up pregnant by local boy Mason McPhee, Gin is shunned and finds herself no better off in her new life with her new husband in Houston, TX. Impoverished and desperate to improve their situation, Mason takes a job overseas with an oil company, one located in the arid and isolated desert ...more
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I was born in Lewiston, Idaho, in 1958, and one week later, I returned with my mother to our small line-shack on Orofino Creek, where my father worked as a gyppo logger. The majority of my childhood was spent with my younger brother, Greg, in the isolated settlements and cedar camps along the North Fork of Idaho’s Clearwater River. I was the first member of my family to attend college. I hold a BA ...more
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