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The Zanzibar Wife

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,065 ratings  ·  112 reviews

Oman. The ancient land of frankincense, wind-swept deserts, craggy mountaintops and turquoise seas. Into this magical nation come three remarkable women, each facing a crossroad in her life.

Rachel, an American war photographer, who is struggling to shed the trauma of her career. Now she is headed to Oman to cover quite a different story - for a glossy travel magazine.

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 25th 2018 by Sphere
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,065 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley, 2018
Rachel takes a job travelling to see the crafts made in Oman. She comes across several problems, not just with her 'fixer' who is supposed to make things run smoothly.
There are three main female characters- Rachel, Ariana the fixer and Miza who is a Zanzibar wife. Their lives become entwined when they all find themselves in Oman at the same time . There are issues they are all trying to resolve in their personal and working lives.
Rachel's photographic assignments keep being foiled and she is
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this a really enlightening tale about two main places - Oman and Zanzibar, peoples, cultures and religions I know nothing about all wrapped around a story so female led it was refreshing. There was a lightness to the writing, a go to approach to the story, a directness to the characters that didn't hinder the tale or drag it down with baggage that could so easily have done. Don't get me wrong there is a strong difficult story to tale here but it is not weighted down with all the usual ...more
More of a 3.5. I found myself speed reading a bit just to finish it

It’s beautifully written but this chick lit feel just doesn’t rock my world BUT I could see why bother would enjoy it
It was interesting the cultural side of this set in Oman
I was initially drawn to this book by the cover, and then when I learned it was about Oman I was incredibly excited because I absolutely adore Oman. From the beginning, I really enjoyed this book, and much of that was due to the interesting array of places traveled by the various characters, particularly places I’d been to, such as Oman and Dubai. It always adds another level of interest when a book travels somewhere that you know. I really engaged with the descriptions of this area of the world ...more
I love Deborah's writing and her coffee shop of Kabul still remains in my ultimate favourites list.
I enjoyed the descriptive narrative of Oman and Dubai, the scene setting is excellent but for some reason I wasn't hooked like her previous books.
I enjoyed Deborah Rodriguez's original autobiographic tale of setting up a beauty school in Kabul but it seems that her books get sillier with each new one. The Zanzibar Wife is poor chick-lit shoe-horned into a potentially interesting setting that doesn't deliver at all well.

Three women meet in Oman. Rachel is a war photographer who has become completely desensitised to suffering and is taking a 'time out' to go and do a travel piece on Omani handicrafts. Ariana is a flaky British-born
Sarah Waters
I loved the setting. Too bad the plot and character development let the rest of book down.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it

Rachel an American photographer who covers global stories of serious events from Afghanistan to Darfur and Tahrir square. She found her self in a slump after a tragic incident in Paris. As a way to put her back to work her friend offers her an assignment in Oman .
Her fixer Ariana a British young divorcé accompanied Rachel in Oman and they met a series of surprising events. Hani who surprised Ariana by being different than every man she has met. Miza, “the Zanzibar wife” who was in Oman to
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Deborah Rodriguez's books and the others I have read were based on her life while this is a novel which she did extensive research for. I love her characters which she does admit are loosely based on real people sh knows which is why they are so believable.

It is an interesting story and the descriptions of the places really come to life. this is an easy holiday read and won't change the world by its existence but it is enjoyable none the less. This one is set in Oman and Zanzibar and
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt this book was slow to start. I am not a huge fan of this genre and if I’m totally honest ... it was the pretty cover that had me pick it up. The blurb did it no justice ...once a quarter of the way through I could not put it down.
The characters were real , relatable and you were buckled in for their journey.
I won’t give any thing away...but as a Muslim it was fascinating to read from a non Muslim writer about jinn. Very well written.
Pick it up and give it a go! I want to know what other
Jade Maree
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I was a bit worried going in to this. There seem to be a lot of reviews saying that it is not as good as Coffee Shop. I was pleasantly surprised. I like this book and enjoyed reading it. I was hooked at the beginning - maybe not so much the end - I wish it was a bit longer.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
DR is an amazing story teller! Her research of and immersion into the region, culture, and people she is writing about really makes an impact on her stories and once you start one of her book you won't be able to put it down!
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 a thoughtful + enjoyable light read, won’t disappoint readers of previous Rodriguez books.
Mrs Louise Stewart
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love reading Deborah Rodriguez novels, so interesting to learn of different cultures and places all tied up in wonderful storytelling
The Barefoot Crafter
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
An enchanting story that feels like being swirled into a sandstorm and then dumped in the heat of Oman, The Zanzibar Wife was a delightful look at how our spirituality affects our relationships, experience and self-perception. We see three very different women form unlikely bonds of friendship through shared experience, and get to dip our toes into the mysticism of the Jinn, and the inexplicable. I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it for a nice easy holiday read. A few darker, ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, bored-me
So I have never read any others by Rodriguez but I am aware that particularly her "Little Coffee Shop of Kabul" is fairly well regarded. So while I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering I was expecting at least a decent story. I was disappointed.

Rachel is a photojournalist who suddenly finds herself burnt out after one too many warzones. Offered a short stint with a travel magazine she heads to Oman in search of artisans and craftspeople.

Ariana is a British national living in Dubai.
Nicole Kalinowska
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Underwhelming and disappointing.

The Zanzibar Wife looked promising and enticing, but it just fell short of my expectations.

1. There just wasn’t enough of the Zanzibar wife. Sure, the plot kind of, loosely, centres around her, and this is all revealed at the end. But the reveal and the tying-loose-ends wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped. We are told a lot about Miza and her situation. But that’s the problem. We are told it. I didn’t feel close to her character and she felt flat and 2D.

2. There
Melissa Sargent
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
There are times when travelling via book is about as close as I will get to a holiday, and so I was pretty excited to receive The Zanzibar Wife, the latest novel by Deborah Rodriguez of Little Coffee Shop in Kabul fame. It ticked all the boxes, with its exotic location, cultural mysteries to be discovered and intersecting stories of three characters who could not be further from me and so, therefore, are completely fascinating to me.

This week I also happened upon a fabulous podcast interview
Tamara Thiessen
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Unlike some I did not wait to get to the end of this before giving up on it. A journalist and travel writer, I was drawn in by the exotic travel overtones, but that is not enough to make a good book. Some of the settings are indeed fascinating and clearly the author has done her research. Yet I found the exotic threads spun out in a contrived manner, like much of the book itself. Incredible - as as in not very credible. Exaggerated plot and characters, implausible situations simply from them ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This novel is the story of three very different women: Rachel - a former war-photographer, Ariana - a British ex-pat who lives in Dubai and Miza - the “Zanzibar wife.” It follows their adventures when they all end up in Oman for various reasons at turning points in all of their lives and then end up providing support for each other despite their differing backgrounds.

I was drawn to the novel by the exotic settings - Zanzibar and Oman. I was also intrigued by the idea of the clash of cultures
Rach Roberts McMillan
Only just three stars, saved at the unwavering notion that some of Rodriguez's prose is beautiful and the descriptions of the places Rachel and Ariana travel to offer such clarity and vision.
This did not quite live up to the quality or powerful ideas conveyed in The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul; which took me by surprise, following the full expectation that it was merely going to be some fluffy chick lit style novel that sufficed as a 'beach read' for ease. In the case of the Zanzibar Wife, we
Lorena Burciu
More like 2.5 actually, but estimated upwards out of respect for the Kabul series by the same author...

This could have been a solid 4* had it followed the same line as the Coffeeshop of Kabul - light and optimistic, strong female leads with great backstories and a story peppered with lessons and teachings about an exotic, distant culture so many in the Western world misunderstand or only try to scratch the surface of.

It could have been... sadly the characters were very two-dimensional, even
Alexandra Nunney
3.5 stars.
As if my wanderlust wasn't bad enough this book has given me a couple more places that I would love to visit.
There were aspects of this story that I found really interesting, and as the end was nearing I realised I really did care what happened to these characters but for some parts I found quite a few characters to be unlikable to the point that they were almost irritating me.
The setting, however, was beautifully described. I could almost taste the cardamom infused coffee and feel
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
This is a story of 3 women from 3 different background, Rachel, an American photographer that want a change, Ariana, a pakistani British that got employ as Rachel's fixer, and Miza, the Zanzibar woman who married to a Omani Man as second wife. Their life' Criss cross in Oman while Rachel looking for something interesting to photograph, for her spanking new employment as a travel photographer for a glossy magazine. In this book, Rodriguez brings her reader to Oman, a beautiful country with ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well thank goodness that is over. I really enjoyed The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul but I’m beginning to think it’s a one hit wonder as I didn’t like the sequel.

Oman, the ancient land of frankincense, windswept deserts, craggy mountaintops and turquoise seas. Into this magical nation come three remarkable women, each facing a crossroad in her life (this came from the back of the book)

It’s true all three women were at a crossroad in their life, but they were anything but remarkable, I won’t go
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
There was something about this book that kept drawing me back to pick it up and finish it. Cant really put my finger on what...
I think I thoroughly enjoyed the elements of learning about Oman and Zanzibar. The characterization of the culture and people of there in the book was really well done.
I was not a fan of Rachel, one of the main characters. And honestly setting up the book like 3 main stories from 3 main women was sort of a waste. One of the other women was pretty shallow, as a character
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I really, really love Debrah Rodriguez's books and I was so excited to learn that she had a new book out and this was it. Unfortunately, for me this book just didn't live up to Rodriguez's other books. I think it was very well written, with a lot of research clearly undertaken before it was written but there was just something about this book that I wasn't keen on. Maybe it was the magic and unrealistic aspect of it that I didn't like? I don't want my 3 stars to put anyone off becauae Rodriguez ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit directionless.

Although i finished this easily it was a bit of a non event. I felt the characters lacked depth and there didn't seem to be any real direction or goal involved. The magical and belief side could have been more detailed to give it more 'flavour' . Ariana's character was annoying and there was way too much detail of how she concentrated on herself when she first met Rachel. This almost put me off reading on as it offended me on a personal level as a female. I persevered as I
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Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser, a motivational speaker, and the author of the bestselling memoir Kabul Beauty School.
She spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Rodriguez also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House.
She currently lives in Mexico.
“Maybe life isn’t about being one way or the other. Perhaps the answers we are looking for come from everywhere–our faith, our brains, and our hearts.” 1 likes
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