Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Saffron Dreams


Saffron Dreams
Author:  Shaila Abdullah
Publisher:  Modern History Press
Book #5 of the Reflections of America Series

Cover Description:
From the darkest hour of American history emerges a mesmerizing tale of tender love, a life interrupted, and faith recovered.  Arissa Illahi, a Muslim artist and writer, discovers in a single moment that no matter how carefully you map your life, it is life itself that chooses your destiny.  After her husband's death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, the discover of his manuscript marks Arissa's reconnection to life.  Her unborn son and the unfinished novel fuse in her mind into one life-defining project that becomes, at once, the struggle for her emotional survival and the redemption of her race.  Saffron Dreams is a novel about our ever evolving identities and the events and places that shape them.  It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, our dreams can become a lasting legacy.

About The Author (from the book cover):
Shaila Abdullah is a Pakistani-American author and designer based in Austin, Texas.  Her first book Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is an award-winning collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society.  For more information, please visit:  www.shailaabdullah.com.

Awards this book as won:

  • Golden Quill Award
  • Reader Views Literary Award (Novel)
  • Kickstart Guy Book of the Year Award
  • Written Art Award 2010 (General Fiction category)
  • Finalist in the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
  • Dream Grant from Hobson Foundation
  • Semifinalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition
  • Honorable Mention in the Willamette Writers Kay Snow Awards
  • Honorable Mention in the Abilene Writers Guild Annual Contest
  • Finalist in the 15th Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest (excerpt)

My personal reflections of the book:
Saffron Dreams is an insightful look at how to find strength and faith in the midst of loss and devastation.  While reading this book I was taught the perspective of a woman whose world was flipped on it side - and whose support system dwindled because of prejudice and fear.  The author, Shaila, was able to take me on an emotional roller coaster with her main character, Arissa, who - while dealing with the loss of her husband in the attack on the World Trade Center, must also learn to raise a special needs child in a society that now views her as a threat.  This book offers a poignant view into the life of a fiercely independent muslim woman as she struggles with the shortcomings of her family and society - along with a battle to find her own confidence as she is hit with emotional blow after blow.  This book will strip away preconceptions of the dutiful Pakistani daughter, wife, and mother - to show you  an exceptionally dynamic woman, struggling with faith and pulling her life back together again piece by piece.  There is no doubt why this book, and this author, wins awards time and time again.  I highly recomend reading this novel.

On a side note - my husband snagged the book from me when I was halfway through, and could not put it down.

*This was originally posted 9/2/11 on a previous blog of mine, I am reposting w/o edit to ensure my current audience knows about this book.

**Disclosure:  I recieved this book for free from Modern History Press for review purposes, I received another book from thier collection as compensation after the completion of this review.

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