An Ambassador’s Wife is a book inspired by a real woman’s experiences in Yemen, as the partner of a diplomatic official. It is fascinating to say the least because you learn about the dangers that she and her family has to live through everyday when you meet the author behind the book in fictional format.
The book takes you into the universe of a kidnapping incident and a couple torn apart by that episode in the fictional Arabic town of Mazrooq. Finn and Miranda are two similar people who have had secrets to hide, reasons for which they have put those dear to them in a lot of trouble. Although the story is entirely fictional, you cannot help but feel the personalized effects because all of these events unfolds in a Gulf state – the author herself is the editor-in-chief of a newspaper in Yemen, and met and fell in love with her husband locally there at a party in the capital.
Jennifer Steil, the author behind the book does not have ordinary working hours because she spends eighty hours working on training staff, and with general editorial responsibilities. For a very long time, she had no life outside the social luncheons with friends from Yemen working hours permitted her to have. Jennifer arrived in Yemen alone to work for a company for there, earned a basic salary, without insurance, and lived in tiny apartments on a diet of porridge and hummus.
All of this changed when she met her husband, Tim, because she then migrated to a life inside a Yemeni mansion, with huge staircases and plenty of bathrooms and a kitchen that looked industrial. The couple have a child together, Theadora, who is very adaptable to the whole environment her parents’ lives supply with – she isn’t a fussy eater or a a big complainer over where exactly she is napping.
Jennifer’s life now has a lot of different things – she has to think about hosting cocktails, and wearing clothes that pertain to the local traditions but still maintain their Western flair. The cocktails aren’t that much of a novelty because they are really cutting time with biscuits and tea discussing home décor and recipes. It is at dinner where Jennifer has usually been free to pike her point of views on everything that she feels warm blooded about Yemen: women’s issues for a start and how different it all is from back home in Manhattan.