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A Bitter Veil Paperback – April 15, 2012
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"Hellmann crafts a tragically beautiful story... both subtle and vibrant... never sacrificing the quality of her storytelling. Instead, the message drives the psychological and emotional conflict painting a bleak and heart wrenching tale that will stick with the reader long after they finish the book."
From the Author
I took his advice.
More About the Author
With critics describing her work as "masterful" and "meticulously researched", it's not hard to see why Libby's thrilling and richly varied crime novels have won numerous awards. Libby is exceptionally committed to her work, and in 2005-2006 she was the National President of Sisters in Crime, a 3,400+ member organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of female mystery writers.
You can keep up to date with all Libby's news and views over at her blog, http://libbyhellmann.com/blog.
Libby started out in broadcast news, beginning her career as an assistant film editor for NBC News in New York before moving back to DC to work with Robin MacNeil and Jim Lehrer at N-PACT, the public affairs production arm of PBS. Retrained as an assistant director when Watergate broke, Libby helped produce PBS's night-time broadcast of the hearings. She went on to work for public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in Chicago in 1978, where she stayed until she left to found Fischer Hellmann Communications in 1985.
Originally from Washington, D.C.--where, she says, "When you're sitting around the dinner table gossiping about the neighbors, you're talking politics"-- Libby earned a Masters Degree in Film Production from New York University and a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to writing, multi-talented Libby writes and produces videos, and conducts speaker training programs in platform speaking, presentation skills, media training and crisis communications.
Libby's best-selling novels have won widespread acclaim, with her first novel, An Eye for Murder, nominated for several awards and described by Publisher's Weekly as "a masterful blend of politics, history, and suspense."
Libby is known for her portrayal of strong female characters. An Eye for Murder introduced Ellie Foreman, a video producer and single mother who went on to star in several more novels in a series described by Libby as "a cross between Desperate Housewives and 24." Libby's second series followed the Chicago PI Georgia Davis, a no-nonsense detective who has been featured in three books so far, with a fourth due out next year. In addition to her hugely popular series, Libby has also written three standalone thrillers in diverse settings and historical periods that demonstrate her versatility as a writer. Through her "Revolution Trilogy," (Set the Night on Fire, A Bitter Veil, and Havana Lost) we meet young activists during the late Sixties, a young American woman who marries and moves to Tehran, and a female Mafia boss who chases power at the expense of love.
And if you've read this far, you deserve a gift! Sign up for Libby's newsletter and get a FREE copy of EASY INNOCENCE, the first mystery in the Georgia Davis PI series!
Just go here: libbyhellmann.com
Top Customer Reviews
Although I filed for divorce in the U.S. upon my return in 1979, that still leaves one legally married in Iran. My husband later filed for divorce in Iran upon receipt of the U.S. decree. Couples register their foreign marriage, which made the marriage official in Iran for purposes of getting the Iranian identity card and passport. Most foreign wives kept dual citizenship. It's interesting to note that Iranian citizenship was automatic for a foreign wife, but not for a foreign husband of an Iranian woman. Even under the Shah, women were chattel by western standards. Upper class women had access to more freedom and the benefit of a foreign education. But their elevated status seemed chiefly due to their influential and protective family connections. Likewise, my freedom was never restricted, except for safety reasons when the streets became dangerous. But Hellmann precisely captures the Zeitgeist and tells the more harrowing story experienced by women less fortunate than I.Read more ›
It is perhaps a cliché to say that some themes transcend time and stay central to the human experience throughout the ages. But it's still a profound notion despite its common currency. A Bitter Veil develops two such universal themes (along with other lesser ones, of course).
One of those themes Hellman succinctly identifies in her author notes:
"I am drawn to stories about women whose choices have been taken away from them. How do they react? Do they simply surrender? Become victims? Or can some survive, even triumph over their travails?"
Anna, Hellman's main character, hangs in a delicate balance throughout the novel, and we don't know how she'll manage when extremist Islam traps her inside Iran under a veil. She's no superhero, but she has to cope with extraordinary circumstances. When we meet her, she's a college student in Chicago hunting down a copy of Rumi's poetry. She meets Nouri, an Iranian engineering student, when he recites lines of Rumi to her at the bookstore. They are pretty typical college kids--sexual attraction, cultural exoticism, intelligent discussions, politics, all that heady brew draw them together. There are undercurrents of concern.Read more ›
Both are students: Anna, from Virginia, is pursuing her master's degree in English and Nouri has come to the U.S. from Iran to study engineering. Within a few months, they've fallen in love. Theirs is not an easy soft-focus Hallmark kind of love. It's a desperate and needy love, where they can barely let each other out of their sight and cling to each other as if addicted. Neither of them seem to have the internal strength to navigate life on their own.
The backdrop for the novel is the late 1970's, during the unrest leading up to Iranian Revolution. Nouri joins the local student group protesting the Shah; Anna soon follows. When Anna finishes her degree, they marry and move to Tehran, where Nouri wants to help rebuild his country. Anna, ashamed of her own family secrets, is welcomed into Nouri's with open arms. In spite of her discomfort with the opulence of the Iranian elite, Anna, at last, feels like she's found a home.
But, as Libby Fischer Hellman shows in chilling detail, the country soon slips off its axis. The Shah is overthrown and flees the country. Ayatollah Khomeini takes over and forms the Republican Guard. Women are relegated to second-class citizens, under the rule of their husband or closest male relative. Men are forced to conform. All traces of the Shah must be eradicated; the upper-class is especially vulnerable. Executions are common and anti-American sentiment is rampant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you're interested in the time period, it is a neat fictional read. Easy beach read - nothing too deep.Published 4 months ago by Melissa M.
A true believable story of revolution and the good and bad. Iranians are caught in this terrible conflict. The heroine is a brave and courageous woman. Found the book fascinating. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rita J. Liebowitz
The lovers meet in an American college and marry and move to his home in Iran.
The basic story here is one we have heard in the headlines, and the fleeing into the... Read more
Thoroughly enjoyed this riveting story of young love, revolution and salvation! I could not put put it down for a minute.Published 13 months ago by janice higgins
So well written. And so timely. Characters and events were presented in a very evenhanded manner and without what could have been a very one sided depiction of history. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
I was sent this audio book for free by the author; thank you, Libby!
I forgot, while reading this book, that it was fiction, as it felt like a real story. Read more