Saturday, 2 June 2012

Flowers from Iraq by Sunny Alexander

The Storyteller and the Healer

This book is about the story of Dr Kathleen Moore. Kathleen is a physician in the small town of Canfield. She was abused as a child and after a family tragedy, grew up in foster care. Kathleen’s childhood was made more bearable by her living in a fantasy world. The book Alice in Wonderland played a big part in her early years.

Kathleen went from foster care to being a closeted physician in the United States Army. Kathleen eventually served in Iraq and was badly injured and traumatized, which ended her army career. After her discharge and recuperation, Kathleen applied for and accepted a post as family physician in Canfield. It’s here that she meets Claire Hollander. Kathleen is smitten. Unfortunately for Kathleen, it appears that Claire is straight. Or is she?

When Kathleen and Claire spend more time together and get to know one another, it is apparent that the feelings Kathleen’s been having are mutual. What will it take though for one of the two women to make the first move?

When Kathleen and Claire do eventually get together, Kathleen can’t let go of her inhibitions. She has to stay locked away deep in the closet. Hiding all her deepest darkest secrets. Will Claire be able to help Kathleen over come her insecurities? Will Kathleen be ready to trust Claire with her secrets from the past? Until Kathleen can come to terms with and leave her past behind, she can’t possibly hope to move on and have a future with Claire. So although Kathleen and Claire love each other, will this be enough to base a future on? The answer of course, is no. Kathleen has to cast aside her demons first, but even if she does, will it be too late for her and Claire?

This book is a wonderfully well written page turner from start to finish. Sunny Alexander has an extraordinary way with words. She is an incredible story teller.

Although the title is Flowers from Iraq, the book is mainly set in the USA.

This is a story of Kathleen’s lack of self esteem. How she likens her life to sowing flower seeds in Iraq and how the young plants all die. Kathleen has to learn she is worthy of love and she has to learn to love herself before she can move on.

The story is told with flash backs to Kathleen’s past. The way this was done was brilliant. Each flash back shows the part it is playing in Kathleen’s present time. The reader has no doubts as to what Kathleen is suffering, why and how it all began way back.

The main character Kathleen is supported by a wonderful cast of equally important characters. Gayle and Robert are her mentors. Over the years, they have become like a second set of parents to her. Without their support both in the past and present, Kathleen’s life would have been even harder to bear. Gary is her best friend and her beard. Then there are Sam, Helen and Kevin. Last but by no means least is Claire. All these people and others seamlessly slot in to progress the story to it’s excellent conclusion.

Sunny Alexander has done her research very well. The PTSD Kathleen suffers from radiates off the page. This book is of the highest quality, both for storyline, dialogue, characters and scenic descriptions. It is beautifully presented and error free. This book is a definite re-read for me.

I am pleased to see there is a sequel to follow, God Laughs. I hope it’s published soon.

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