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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
This is a work of fiction. Several years ago when I was casting around for a new novel to write, I was chatting with another author about the themes I wanted to explore--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? As we talked, I remember becoming captivated by a personal story told to me some years before. It contained elements of what I thought would be a great tale: young lovers who become ensnared by history, family complications, and the inherent conflict of a political and cultural revolution that turned some people into heroes, others into cowards. I imagined writing about the journey of a brave young woman confronted with almost insurmountable obstacles. The only problem was that there was no crime involved, and I write crime fiction. When I said that to my author friend, he looked at me as if I was a little strange, and said, "It's fiction. Find one."
I took his advice.
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Top Customer Reviews
Aside from the melodrama, the book offers a descriptive illustration of the turmoil in Iran during the Khomeini takeover. However, the author left unanswered questions at the story’s end.
For Anna, moving to Iran is a heady but nerve wracking experience.The vast differences in culture overwhelm her at times. But Nouri's family is welcoming and she finds the family she feels she has been denied in her own childhood.
Nouri, returning to the bosom of his family,is confident that he will grow and prosper with Anna at his side. Even though he has given lip service to the need for change in Iranian society,he naively believes that his cultured,wealthy way of life will not be affected.
The warning signs at first are subtle and easy for the couple to ignore.But the winds of change quickly escalate into the chaos that tornadoes bring.And there is no turning back.What was once would never be again.
I could not stop reading this book. I understand that Ms. Hellman writes crime fiction, but I read this as historical fiction. And while I have lived through this time,I learned a lot about Iran's history and culture.Looking back at myself during that time, I realize now what a narrow view I had of this country back then.
For those that remember this time, it is a fresh look back. For those too young to remember, it is a history lesson. And for all it is a vision of what happens when religion and politics mix.
Impressive too were the characters of Anna and Nouri. She who so much wanted to have a strong, solid family and he an ambitious young man who wanted to put his mark on the world. Two enraptured lovers seeking their happily ever after. Alas...well you'll just have to read it for yourself!
Libby Fischer Hellman
April 15, 2012
For many of us growing up as children in the middle of the twentieth century, we expected to have our
dreams fulfilled, love, marriage, education, a successful career, ...
Hindsight always gives a person an advantage. However, in A Bitter Veil, an American girl, Anna, meets
an Iranian boy, Nouri, who is studying engineering in Chicago. They meet in a bookstore and begin to
discuss Persian poetry. This is the beginning of their loving relationship. It seemed like the perfect
match even though she was blond and he had dark hair. Both had that Aryan look about their eyes.
At that time not many people in this country had married someone from this area of the world. Being
That in Iran at this time had about 46,000 Americans living there and appeared progressive with
technology, styles, and habits, no one could have predicted how things could and would change in a
very short time.
Anna had never been close to her family so her love for Nouri fulfilled her and she eagerly anticipated having an extended family, even if it is in Iran. Fortunately, Nouri's family was wealthy and greatly benefited from the Shah's reign basically living a Western life in Tehran.
As the couple begins their new life in the modern Iran of 1978, the southern section of Tehran is having demonstrations and riots due to the inequality of opportunities inside this country. The southern part of this city is poor, the northern section where this couple lives, appears not to even be aware of the problems.
When the Shah leaves and the Ayatollah returns to the country, many people are eager for the change, this should fulfill their hopes and dreams. However, when the U.S. Embassy is attacked and those inside are held hostage, the attitude towards Americans and modernization quickly changes. This reversion to the old beliefs is difficult for those who were in favor with the previous governmental powers.
In A Bitter Veil, the voice of Anna is realistic and believable. Libby Fischer Hellman extensively researched this time period, the changes in Iran, and those people who actually underwent this experience. This in-depth fictional story is well-organized, engaging, as well as informative of actual historical episodes and the effects on those Americans in Iran.
A Bitter Veil is a true historical experience. Even though it is a romance at first, it is also a mystery, and definitely reflective to the changes within Iran.
Hindsight always makes us reflect into a right or wrong situation. A Bitter Veil allows us to view the changes through the eyes of a naïve Westerner while also having the reader develop a deeper understanding of the people.