“Farishta” by Patricia McArdle, a recent winner of the 2012 San Diego Book Awards for published general fiction, is an intriguing look at a diplomat’s life inside Afghanistan. It is the story of Angela Morgan, a U.S. diplomat, who witnesses the death of her husband in the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
After his death she flees back to the United States and sticks to desk assignment to protect herself. With no high-priority postings her career is coming to a dead end until she is assigned to the mission in Afghanistan. She is scared to death to take the assignment; but knows it is the end of her career if she doesn’t.
When she arrives in Afghanistan she is met with hostility by the Afghan males and her own all male team. As she continues to come up against bureaucratic roadblocks to helping the Afghan people rebuild she begins to sneak out of the compound in a burka and help the people in her own way. She works to improve their living conditions and quality of life.
I really liked the characters in this novel and felt that they were very well developed. The emotions and conflicts were very real. The story was well paced and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. A great read!