Book Review: A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellmann

A Bitter VeilA Bitter Veil
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Allium Press of Chicago, April 2012
ISBN 978-0-9831938-1-4
Trade Paperback

Enter the Muslim world of Khomeini’s Iran. Good luck leaving. Especially if you are married to an Iranian male. And are American. A Bitter Veil takes you inside a country on the brink of cultural changes. Where a religion has decreed Western civilization and especially America, to be evil. Where corruption and power rules the everyday life of every person.

In 1977, Anna Schroder is attending college in Chicago when she meets an engineering student, Nouri Samedi, who hails from Iran. Friendship turns to love and passion and eventually marriage. They return to Nouri’s homeland to continue their life together. However, storm clouds have been gathering. Iran’s leader, the Shah, is a tyrant, and is slowly being forced out. When the Shah leaves and Khomeini assumes control, things from bad to worse. Anna’s life heads in a downward spiral as Islamic fascism slowly becomes the norm. She watches in horror as Nouri slowly succumbs to the new regime and her marriage, her existence is in peril. When Nouri is murdered and Anna is imprisoned, her only hope is to somehow escape and find the real killer.

This is not so much a murder mystery, although there is that aspect, but more of a spotlight on how a culture changed in the late seventies and early eighties. This includes actual events, such as the taking of the American Embassy by terrorists. The cultural shock is probably not atypical for those women who have married into Muslim life and found themselves trapped. Even though I knew what was going to happen in regards to Anna’s life in Iran I felt compelled to read further to see just how bad it could get. Hellmann did her homework to present some powerful writing. Everyone can learn a lesson from A Bitter Veil.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, June 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.