A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is a number one bestseller. It is published by Bloomsbury in paperback and its ISBN is 978074758297724. It is a wonderful romance story but also a powerful and sad insight into war and the carnage and chaos it causes. One cannot read this and be unmoved by the suffering of women in Kabul during the Taliban rule. It is told from a female perspective. It catalogues the lack of education of women, rapes, beatings, arranged marriages, head covering and their low social status in vivid detail. The main character is Miriam who at the tender age of five discovers she is illegitimate and gradually becomes to realise her father does not acknowledge her in public and has her living in a hut miles from civilisation. When her mum Nana commits suicide her father Jalil runs her out of town and marries her at 15 years of age to a 45 year old man. Rasheed her husband inflicts upon her a life of beatings and torment. Until he takes a second wife Laila and things get worse for Miriam. Slowly the women form a friendship that eventually leads to a mother and daughter type of relationship. Miriam in a final confrontation with the violent Rasheed stabs him to death to give Laila freedom and a new life. While Miriam is sent to prison, Lalia, Tariq and the kids escape to Pakistan until it is safe to return home to Kabul. They return to help rebuild it and start work in an orphanage. Lalia becomes pregnant, a new life, a new beginning, the ultimate metaphor for the rebirth of Kabul. This is a beautiful novel depicting the cruelty of war and the beauty of family and romance. I highly recommend this novel. Reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap.