VEIL OF ROSES has several layers and a lot of potential. It is, in one way, sort of a typical chick-lit story, only this story features a young Iranian woman coming to America to try her luck at finding a husband before her visa expires (three months), because that would allow her to stay in a country where she can go unveiled and stop worrying that the police will arrest her for something like laughing too loudly. So it is both a perhaps too formulaic chick-lit story, and a look at a life that is very different from what we have here in America.

This combination had a lot of potential, and I did enjoy it. Twenty-seven-year old Tamila, a young Persian woman who wants to be a photographer, who dreams of freedom and peace in her homeland, is a wonderful character. Her forbidden romance with Ike and doomed relationship with her Iranian suitors, however, seem a little too predictable and boring. If this book could have focused more on Tamila as an Iranian in America, more about the oppresive government of Iran, rather than its chick-lit aspect, I probably would have enjoyed it more, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love it, as this was just my personal preference.

I can’t judge on how accurate the potrayal of Iran and Iranian life is, as I don’t have any experience with regard to that (this is something I feel the need to say after reading some negative Amazon reviews); however, I personally did enjoy the book and in fact passed it on to my mother to read. It is not the most empowering or sterotype-breaking book with regard to Muslim women that I’ve read, and not the best book ever, but it is enjoyable, and there are some bits of the prose that I found quite wonderful.

Still, I believe that Laura Fitzgerald is a wonderful writer with a talent for creating fantastic characters. This book is not technically YA, but I do think it has crossover appeal.VEIL OF ROSES is a good debut, and I eagerly look forward to Laura Fitzgerald’s next novel.

Four Stars