AudioBook Review: A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Today, for your listening pleasure I bring you A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellmann.  Please read on for the review, all about where to find the book, and how to connect with the author.


A Bitter Veil
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Narration by Diane Pirone Gelman
Allium Press of Chicago
Paperback / eBook / AudioBook
ISBN:  978-0983193819
311 Pages
9 Hours, 29 Minutes
Genre:  Literary Fiction, Political, Woman’s
Purchase NowAmazon § Audible § Barnes & Noble § iTunes  

Stars:       Overall:  5    Narration:  5    Story:  5

About the Book:
It all began with a line of Persian poetry . . .

Anna and Nouri, both studying in Chicago, fall in love despite their very different backgrounds. Anna, who has never been close to her parents, is more than happy to return with Nouri to his native Iran, to be embraced by his wealthy family. Beginning their married life together in 1978, their world is abruptly turned upside down by the overthrow of the Shah, and the rise of the Islamic Republic.

Under the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Republican Guard, life becomes increasingly restricted and Anna must learn to exist in a transformed world, where none of the familiar Western rules apply. Random arrests and torture become the norm, women are required to wear hijab, and Anna discovers that she is no longer free to leave the country.

As events reach a fevered pitch, Anna realizes that nothing is as she thought, and no one can be trusted…not even her husband.

Audio Book Review:

I actually ended up listening to this all in one straight shot, as every time I went to put it down there was an event unfolding that needed me to know its resolution.  This is one of those stories that while it deals with the near-past, the events and understanding brought forward in the book will provide readers / listeners with a better grasp on the complexities of current world situations.

Anna is an interesting character, one that I found rather needy and more than slightly naïve, which worked to her detriment for a large part of the story.  Nouri is also a well-defined character, who is practicing the often-common phenomenon of Americanizing his behavior and attitudes while you are away from parental control and societal constraints while you are a student abroad.   Early on in the story, we see flashes of Nouri’s ingrained attitude toward a woman’s place, although Anna misses every signal, more enamored of the idea of love and belonging than actually creating a solid relationship.

As the story progresses and Anna attempts to adapt to her position as a wife of a Muslim man living in Tehran,  their relationship is slowly fraying because she is starting to see the reality of the relationship and looking to question, when Nouri will entertain none of her questions and often is abusive and controlling of her every move.

All the while, the country is in turmoil and the various factions are struggling for control. Nothing and nowhere is truly safe, settled or even secure.  It becomes a gripping tale of multiple fractures in the foundations of relationships, families and countries.

Impeccably researched, with a clever inset of a crime with a highly improbable (from the outside) suspect, dramatics from family and events, a solid inclusion of Farsi and other Islamic traditions  this book is laden with information as it leads you through the plot.  Diane Pirone Gelman is a marvelous narrator, with pitch, tone and clarity of the tongue twisting words in Farsi all serve to immerse the listener into the story.

Libby Fischer Hellman has done it again: provided a story that is no holds barred, researched it thoroughly and provided a plot that keeps you engaged and interested in what happens next.  This is the perfect listen for your commute or a long journey: 9 hours flew by from start to end.

I received an AudioBook version from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 


About the Author:

Libby Fischer Hellmann is the award-winning author of A Bitter Veil, Set the Night on Fire,  the Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis crime fiction series, and Nice Girl Does Noir, a two volume short story collection. She has lived in Chicago over 35 years.

Connect with Libby via:  Website § Facebook § @libbyhellmann § Email § Libby’s App