Friday 14 December 2012

Friday Recommended...

In the Kingdom of Men


Book Blurb from Goodreads

Raised in a two-room shack by her strict Oklahoma grandfather, Gin Mitchell knows a better life awaits her when she marries home town hero Mason McPhee. Even so, nothing can prepare her for what’s to come when Mason takes a job with the Arabian American Oil company in 1960s Saudi Arabia.

My Review

Taken from the city orphanage as a seven year old, and raised by her fanatical Methodist grandfather, Virginia “Gin” Mae Mitchell has a harsh and troubled early life. When in her mid teens she rebels against this severe upbringing, and determined to leave her grandfather, she uses marriage to Mason McPhee as her escape. When Mason accepts a job working for the Arabian American Oil company in Saudi Arabia, both he and Gin struggle to conform and adjust to a new way of life. As Mason begins life on the oil rigs, Gin is segregated in the women’s compound in Abqaiq, where she is given more than she ever thought possible. With a houseboy and gardener at her disposal, and amongst the discontented older wives, she learns to live the life of her dreams. But this is 1967, Saudi Arabia is a country on the edge of great change and company wives must learn to live within the strict boundaries of Shariah law. Whilst the oil company employees seem to live on the edge of paradise, civil unrest is never far away, and as Mason begins to suspect that all is not as it should be within the company, Gin also learns that freedom comes at a price.

With great skill the author conveys the stark beauty of a country which is as wild as it is beautiful. Wonderfully descriptive, the story is very easy to read, and very quickly becomes a real page turner, so much so, I stayed up long and late to finish it.

I am sure that book groups will love this one, there is much to discuss, not just about the politics of Saudi Arabia in the 1960s, but also the moral and ethical implications of plundering oil and the way in which the country treated its women. 

My thanks to Newbooks for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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