Wednesday 20 August 2014

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

Knowing how much I adored The Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns, this was chosen for our book club as it is compared with Hosseini's masterpiece on the cover. On the cover it is also described as Maeve Binchy meets the Kite Runner. I do not think this is a compliment.  The story itself is lightweight romantic fiction with happy endings for most of the main characters and one death as an acknowledgement of the setting which is war torn Afghanistan. The author has lived there herself and her political views are voiced through some of the characters in a very unrealistic way.  This book has often harrowing moments of the women's lives living there but I didn't really like it & I probably expected too much. Khaled Hosseini set the benchmark and this comes nowhere near.

''In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together."

SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her café and customers safe.
YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets.
CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil.
ISABEL, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life. And HALAJAN, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules.

As these five women discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.''

I was really looking forward to reading this & I enjoyed  the beginning of this book - thanks to the initial few characters. It showed so much promise, but I was left feeling robbed of what could have been a poignant novel featuring only three characters - Sunny, Halajan & Yazmina. Instead, the story lacks real grit and is too busy. I never felt any emotional connection with any of the characters, it was full of cliches and had no depth.

This book is available on Kindle & in all good bookstores.

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