When the Moon is Low...Review

About the book:
By turns astonishing, frightening, and triumphant, When the Moon Is Low chronicles one brave Afghan woman’s odyssey to save her family.

In Kabul, we meet Fereiba, a schoolteacher who puts her troubled childhood behind her when she finds love in an arranged marriage. But Fereiba’s comfortable life implodes when the Taliban rises to power and her family becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime. Forced to flee with her three children, Fereiba has one hope for survival: to seek refuge with her sister’s family in London.

Traveling with forged papers and depending on the kindness of strangers, Fereiba and the children make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness, the start of a harrowing journey that reduces her from a respected wife and mother to a desperate refugee.

Eventually they fall into the shadowy underground network of the undocumented who haunt the streets of Europe’s cities. And then, in a busy market square in Athens, their fate takes a frightening turn when Fereiba’s teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family. Without his mother, Saleem is forced, abruptly and unforgivingly, to come of age in a world of human trafficking and squalid refugee camps.

Heartbroken, Fereiba has no choice but to continue on with only her daughter and baby. Mother and son cross border after perilous border, risking their lives in the hope of finding a place where they can be reunited.

A beautifully compelling novel about one family's struggle for survival as the Taliban rises to power in Afghanistan.  The story is told from the alternating view points of Fereiba and her son Saleem. Fereiba's story starts when she is a young girl married off to a near stranger; a man who becomes her soulmate and love of her life. As a married woman with children and an educated teacher, Fereiba's life is shattered as the Taliban and its fundamentalist regime, rises to power. Her husband is targeted and Fereiba and her children are forced to flee their home and country.

As they attempt to reach England, they find themselves in dangerous territory going from Afghanistan to Turkey to Greece and so forth. When Fereiba is separated from Saleem and forced to travel on with her two youngest children, she wonders if she will see her son again.

The story is compelling and heart wrenching. The struggle of these refugees is real and the utter despair they feel at their circumstances is palpable. I was fascinated up until the end when I was left with a very unsatisfactory conclusion that left the ending open to the reader's imagination, rather than giving us real closure. The ending was so abrupt and disappointing to me that I actually compared my electronic copy with the print copy, thinking that perhaps I was missing some pages. Nope. I wish I could just go with my initial impressions for this review, but the lack of a substantial ending left a bitter aftertaste.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Nadia Hashimi here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/15

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. I wonder why it ended like that. I've been looking forward to this book and will lower my expectations.

    Sorry to hear about your vision problems. I hope they get things sorted out soon.

  2. The struggles of refugees is just heart breaking. It's really amazing some of the things people can live through.

    Thank you for being on the tour.


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