Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: Dreaming in English

Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald

Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Paperback ,432pp
ISBN-13: 9780451232144
ISBN: 0451232143

(Received for review from Library Thing)

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Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Following her national bestselling novel Veil of Roses, Laura Fitzgerald tells what happens to a young woman from Iran after she impulsively marries the man of her dreams and starts fresh in the land of baseball and apple pie...

Knowing she could never be happy in Iran, Tamila Soroush took her mother's advice to "Go and wake up your luck" and joined her sister in the United States, where amazing freedoms awaited her. Now, after a spur-of-the-moment exchange of "I do's" with her true love, Ike Hanson, Tami is eager to stare her new life.

But not everyone is pleased with their marriage, and Tami's hapily-ever-after is no sure thing.. As tensions escalate, Tami's sense of self-worth takes a beating, especially when her earlier attempts to find a husband on a visitor's visa return to haunt her. And there are her parents, stuck behind in a country that betrayed them. How can she be happy when they are not?

Tami is beginning to understand that freedom isn't for the faint of heart. With so much stacked against her, and her immigration interview looming, she wonders whether shes got the right stuff when it comes to love, American-style. Maybe her luck is running out... or maybe she'll step up to the plate and claim her American dream.


Author Laura Fitzgerald continues the story of Tamila Soroush, an Iranian immigrant in her latest novel, Dreaming in English, the sequel to her bestselling book, Veil of Roses. Readers will love finding out what happened to Tami and the love of her life, Ike after their hasty Vegas wedding. Fitzgerald draws on the experience of her husband, a man of Iranian descent to bring authenticity and beliveability to this book, but it's Fitzgerald's knack for character development that readers will fall in love with.

While visiting her sister on a three month visitor's visa, Tami makes a spur-of-the moment decision to marry Ike Hanson, the man she has dreamed of her whole life. America will afford her many of the freedom's she could never have in Iran. Leaving her parents and family behind she head to Tucson to start her new life. But, things don't seem to be going her way when she Ike's mother becomes convinced that Tamila is using Ike to get her citizenship. The Immigration Department and Ike's parents are keeping a close eye on their relationship to see if it's real or just a sham. Will she and Ike be able to rise above the controversy and create a life for themselves or will Tami's dream of freedom in America be at an end?

Laura Fitzgerald tackles the controversial issue of immigration in her both of novels about Tamila Soroush and her family. Her descriptions about the life of women in Iran and the obstacles they faced are remarkable. I really enjoyed seeing Tami as she began to adjust to life in America. To seeing all the differences from how her life would have been in Iran. Both Veil of Roses and Dreaming in English are well written, with great clarity and emotion. The first book introduced us to Tami, but the second really shows her growth and how she held on to her dreams and made decisions that may have seemed hasty turn into something wonderful.

I am sympathize with both sides of the story. Tami had come to America to visit her sister and in hopes of finding someone to marry so she could stay. But she didn't expect to really fall in love. Her relationship with Ike was a surprise and a dream come true, but she didn't consider how it would be viewed by others. I can see why Ike's parents might have been skeptical and worried for their son, but I think his mother took things to the extreme with her behavior. I can totally see how this situation could have transpired in real life and I think the author did an amazing job of bringing the reader a love story that is current and full of possibilities.

Fitzgerald's development of the characters was flawless. Tami just seems to bloom as she comes in to her own. She is strong and tenacious but she is also vulnerable and her self-worth and image are challenged a lot in this book. But she comes across as resilient and easily bounces back. I cannot imagine the fear that must go through the minds of women in her situation, knowing that they could be deported and sent back. I think the author did a great job of conveying that earnestness and anxiety. Ike was also a great character, though I wished he would have stood up to his mother a little more forcefully at times. Tami's new friends add a lot of comic relief to the book as there are times when it gets a bit emotional.

This book could be read as a stand alone but I think readers would much rather read the two together to get the full effect of the story. I recommend Dreaming in English to all of my readers. It is a great story about the American dream from a different perspective. It is extremely well written and will hold the interest of the reader from start to finish. It's full of wonderful characters and a fast paced plot. This would be a great one to curl up with and read the weekend away.

Dreaming in English is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Laura Fitzgerald a native of Wisconsin, lives in Arizona with her husband, who is of Iranian descent and their two children.

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