Under the Almond Tree by Laura McVeigh
One of the most anticipated book releases of the year is the debut novel by Laura McVeigh called Under the Almond Tree and is a timely novel about the effects of war on people and displacement the effects on their lives and the incredible courage and bravery in their struggle to survive.
The story is narrated by 15-year-old Samar and set in war torn Afghanistan the Russians have been forced out after making the lives of people nothing short of horrific now it is the turn of the Taliban and their barbaric rule of law and Samar and her family decide they have to escape the terror that they face on a daily basis in Kabul from what was once a happy life now they face an uncertain future away from their home. To escape they board the Trans-Siberian Express and now the story really begins to unfold for our narrator Samar and her family, Samar spends her time on the train with a copy of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy she dreams of being a writer and along the journey she writes to hide the concerns and worries and documents the journey. With memories of her yellow house that was the family home in Kabul now they are fleeing, running away out of fear for their lives. But then the story starts to uncover a secret that will shock the reader. There is no turning back now and for Samar this journey is uncovering many secrets.
Samar’s enduring love for her parents and brothers and sisters is something that will endure the harrowing experiences that she has endured in her young life. Under the Almond Tree is a beautifully written debut novel that will stay long after you have finished reading. It is poignant and moving and completely unforgettable. I was left with the thought of love and hope and that these two things we must hold onto in these troubled times. As much as this is set during the 1990’s it is a story of today. Under the Almond Tree is a story that left me thinking of all refugees fleeing war at this time. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Emma Draude for the advanced review copy.
Under the Almond Tree by Laura McVeigh is published by Two Roads on the 23rd February and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.