Published by Doubleday on July 28th, 2015
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After marrying Finn, the British ambassador to Mazrooq, Miranda must adjust to the diplomat lifestyle of large homes, staff members, and bodyguards. Her former artist life left little room for comfort and luxury, as she took risks in teaching Muslim women to paint and draw. Just as she starts to feel comfortable with her role as the ambassador’s wife, Miranda is kidnapped while on a hiking trip, throwing her family’s life into chaos and the women she has helped into ultimate danger.
At 400 pages, The Ambassador’s Wife does feel a bit overlong, particularly toward the beginning, but it is rarely dry. Even in its setup, there is enough tension to keep the pages turning, and by the midpoint the novel truly takes off. By blending Miranda’s past and present, Steil weaves a compelling, suspenseful story about much more than the kidnapping it centers on.
The Honourable Woman – BBC Two (Netflix)
If you’re looking for an amazing TV show that will sweep you up but doesn’t require a multi-season commitment, The Honourable Woman is it. At just eight episodes, the miniseries is quick enough to watch over a weekend, but still packs a total punch (my husband brilliantly dubbed it House of Homeland for its perfect House of Cards/Homeland blend).
Because the show is so compact, it takes a bit of concentration to grasp the plot: British-Israeli businesswoman Nessa Stein (played brilliantly by Maggie Gyllenhaal) has recently taken over her family’s media company, which is focused on bringing peace to the West Bank, but must come face-to-face with the trauma and secrets in her past. Though it comes from a different angle, The Honourable Woman is similar to The Ambassador’s Wife in the ways it explores the role of women in the Middle East—both those from the region and those outside it.