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Refuge (Book One) [Kindle Edition]

N. G. Osborne
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

However when Noor's brother threatens to marry her off, she is forced to seek refuge in Charlie's home, of all places, and suddenly everything Noor believes in is put into question.

Set in the mystical and seething city of Peshawar, where no one is without an agenda and few can be trusted, Refuge is a timeless and unforgettable love story about the struggle for love and purpose in a cruel and cynical world.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A forbidden love story set against the backdrop of a war plagued Afghanistan, Refuge explores questions of woman’s rights and Islamic fundamentalism with convincing intrigue … Charlie’s character may be a little too good to be true, but that’s a small quibble in an otherwise accomplished manuscript. With mention of Al Qaeda toward the end of the book, it’s hard not to guess the historical backdrop for the sequel.


Debut British novelist N.G. Osborne has crafted a brilliantly compelling romantic drama set in a world where love is a lethal indulgence and women are best neither seen nor heard beneath their burkhas … a simple but deeply affecting tale of forbidden love with tenderly realized characters. Come the riveting climax you will have fallen hard for Noor and Charlie, and the many colourful supporting characters, and be hoping against hope for a happy ending.

Discovery of the year.

Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express

"A captivating tale of love between the unlikeliest people in the unlikeliest of places." Will Fetters - Screenwriter of "Remember Me" and "The Lucky One"

Product Details

  • File Size: 1041 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Cranham & Keith; 1 edition (December 15, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009LU196Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger December 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the story, and learning more about the culture of Pakistan and Afghanistan, I guess I should have read more of the reviews because I was completely taken aback when the story stopped dead in the middle and said: The End of Book One. This is all fine and good for bestsellers because you know they will be heavily marketed when the sequel comes out so you will be sure not to miss it, but how about little books like this one...I really don't think I would have read it until the sequel was sold along side the first book, or the whole trilogy was sold together, whatever the author has planned. I finished the book this evening and can't stop thinking about the characters, and it really bothers me that I may never find out what happens to them, kind of like reading a newspaper article then never finding out what happens. They were that real to me.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED THIS BOOK! October 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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 is painted here, a cold, dark world - especially for women. Noor's need and desire to escape is aided by the most caring father figure I have read in a novel. I love books that take me to another place and entertain - this book does just that. But I also recognize the responsibility great literature has - which is to provide provocation, thought and conversation starters about places, times & cultures that need big bright lights shone upon them. At its heart, this is a love story but beyond that REFUGE is an eye opening expose into a world where women are not allowed to make choices for themselves - simple as that - not allowed. In these parts of the world, many believe it is dangerous for girls to have knowledge. I believe it is dangerous for extremists to dictate societies' norms. REFUGE does many things - it will make you laugh, cry, weep and spoiler alert! SHOCK YOU. It will also make you think, and that's a good thing.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved everything about this book. October 22, 2012
By Laura
Format:Kindle Edition
REFUGE is much more than a love story. It's an exotic page turning adventure with so much heart. From it's thoroughly engaging relationships to it's thought provoking social issues, this book has it all. And it's wonderfully written too with an amazing cast of characters. Honest, flawed, detailed, and complex. (Noor was my favorite. Such a beautifully written smart hopeful young woman. So refreshing.) The world the author creates is authentic - there is no doubt about that. You can hear the sounds he describes, see the setting in vivid detail. It does what every good book should, appeal to all your senses, peak a full range of emotions, and of course entertain. REFUGE truly is a joy to read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, what a cliff hanger! November 26, 2012
By aj
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this and the culture of the Afghans. I wished I could just drop everything and read it at one sitting, but I finally finished it. One comes to understand how undervalued women were in Iran. The heroine is courageous and devoted to family. Her brother sells her out and I eagerly await the next novel. Beautifully written!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Book, Can't wait for the sequel June 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book! I loved the details about Noor's life in the camps and how she was trying to better herself and ultimately change the lives of her young students. I am a teacher myself and to me that is what teaching is all about. Making the students think about who they really want to be what they want their lives to be. She really was invested in her students lives. Not many teachers these days would visit a student at home to tell their parents how well they are doing in school. The characters were awesome! I loved Charlie and Wali's relationship. Noor's father was supportive and educated. I really hope that Bushra comes out of her shell in the next books. Maybe Tariq will see the error of his ways as well. Overall great book! I couldn't stop reading it until it was done!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book...desperately awaiting book 2 November 20, 2012
By Dejede
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting take on the doomed lovers theme. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars is I would have liked more details on Noor's transition from loathing to love and the cliffhanger end was brutal in its abruptness. I'll be checking Amazon on a regular basis for book two!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "the kite runner" meets "romeo and juliet" July 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A bittersweet love story with heart breaking circumstances and fast paced plot. The second book is not yet published and the end of this one will leave you dying for more.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of the year October 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
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 year old Afghan teacher who dreams of escaping the refugee camp that has become home for her and her family. Charlie is completely captivated by Noor's beauty and unwittingly sets out to break every conceivable rule that westerners should adhere to. Noor however is horrified by this man that won't stop pursuing her. Her father, a former English professor tries to encourage her to befriend him as a possible aid to securing an overseas scholarship, so when a member of her family betrays her she finds herself looking to Charlie for a place to hide and a possible way of escaping the life that is slowly destroying her.
I fell in love with this book right away and the small cast of wonderful characters. Their world is described so colourfully you feel you are in the story yourself witnessing every moment, watching their lives evolving. Their story stayed with me long after finishing it.
Highly recommended, this is an excellent debut from an author from whom I would like to see a lot more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it
Published 1 day ago by Lori Schreiber
2.0 out of 5 stars Finish the story
I hate it when a book leaves you hanging so you have to go and get book two. Finish one book before you start another.
Published 7 days ago by Joan DuKore
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent couldn't put down brought book 2 within minutes of finishing book 1.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars all for a better life
Loved it. Showed how life for middle easternn women are controlled by the men in their lives and how a hope for a better future can be almost insurmountable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wendy J. Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it!
Published 1 month ago by Ashley W Anderson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Me
I thought I'd enjoy this book but I didn't. I became frustrated with all the characters and their names. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joann R. Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
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. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Toni Osborne
3.0 out of 5 stars easy reading. Very good description of life among the ...
Enjoyable, easy reading. Very good description of life among the refugees of the Russian/Afghan War and how the Islamic fundamentalists were reacting to non-Islamic invaders.
Published 4 months ago by Hal B
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth reading
I would not recommend this book. I got this book as a free book and am glad I didn't pay for it. This book was predictable. Read more
Published 6 months ago by c landrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Refuge: Book One
The protagonist is pretty obnoxious, but he grows in you. Book One is a cliff-hanger!
Published 7 months ago by Dolores L
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More About the Author

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 and then a year later went onto university at Oxford where I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

After Oxford, I had a burning desire to be in the film industry and so I applied and received a place at the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Two years - that's what I told myself. I will study there for two years, get some interning experience in Hollywood, and then take my skills back to the UK. Oh, how one's plans so easily change.

Now 17 years later I am still in Los Angeles. I've been a film executive and a producer and worked on many wonderful movies. But about 5 years ago three things began to coincide. First, I increasingly wanted to write - I loved producing but it also frustrated me. Isn't the cliche that inside every producer is a frustrated writer? Well that was me. But bizarrely because I wasn't confident in my writing ability I thought I would write a novel not a screenplay. I know, talk about putting the cart before the horse.

If I was going to write a novel then I wanted to write one in a genre I loved - and though it may strange sound for a man to say this, my favorite genre of novel was love stories - not pulp romance novels but the classics - Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Corelli's Mandolin, Love In The Time of Cholera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Classic romances that have stood the test of time. Now I am not pretending what I have written is even close but it is the genre I perhaps naively chose.

The question was what and that is when I came back to my time in Pakistan - what if I told a simple story - a love story - set in 1991 between an American aid worker and a young female Afghan refugee. What I loved about the idea was that in all great romances there has to be something standing in the way of your couple getting together - in Romeo and Juliet it's that Capulets and Montagues are sworn enemies, in Corelli's Mandolin it's that Corelli is an invader and Peligia part of the population his troops have conquered, I think one of the issues of writing a great romance nowadays is that there are so few barriers to love - but there are plenty when your characters are a Muslim woman and an American man especially if they live in one of the most fundamentalist parts of the world.

Writing the novel was perversely one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've ever done - it's a bit like aid work actually. And what came out of it were these two great characters - Charlie and Noor - who I fell in love with and by the end of the process felt like the closest of friends. I do so hope you love them too.

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