The Ambassador’s Wife by Jennifer Steil

Set in a beautiful, ancient capital city in the fictional middle-eastern country of Mazrooq, this is a sensuous tale of a portrait artist developing her craft in the midst of the Muslim culture that forbids the drawing of the human figure. Miranda falls in love and marries the British ambassador Finn. Both are surrounded by luxury, their every need attended to. When she is kidnapped, their world crumbles, and each must search for his or her truest sense of self. How complicit is Miranda as she involves her devout Muslim female students in creating work abhorrent to the men and elders of Islam? How can she possibly return to her husband and daughter while forced to care for the infant girl who will surely die if she escapes? How has Finn’s idealism and that of the Western allies threatened to alienate and subjugate the very people they are there to help and advise? A harrowing love story about the meaning of trust, friendship, and ongoing colonialism in our age. – Anne Stewart Mark