by Zack Love
Anissa’s Redemption is the second and concluding part of Zack Love’s Syrian Virgin series. In the first book we were introduced to 16-year old Anissa, living with her family in the Syrian city of Homs at the start of the civil war. Being Christians, they became targets for the Islamist extremists and Anissa was forced to flee from her home. She must now build a new life for herself in New York as she comes to terms with the tragic loss of her family.
In this sequel, Anissa must make some difficult decisions about her relationships and finally come to terms with the secrets of her past she kept hidden from everyone, including herself.
But she is not the only one hiding deep and troubling secrets.
Through her letters we see Anissa’s struggle with her feelings for the two men in her life: fellow student Michael who leads the Mideast Christian Association, working to help fellow Christians in war-torn Syria; and Julien, her wealthy and charismatic college lecturer whose own secrets threaten their growing relationship.
Anissa’s Redemption, told through letters and journal entries takes the reader on a roller-coaster journey. Written with a sympathetic understanding of the realities of the situation in the Middle East and its affect on the people involved, this book presents both a touching and romantic story combined with stark reality and a glimpse of the darker side of the human soul.
In Anissa, Zack Love has created a strong but vulnerable character who I found myself wishing was real. It is much more common these days to find strong female characters, both in books and in film. As she fights her demons and builds a better life for herself, Anissa is one of the most captivating of this new breed of leading ladies.
An excellent conclusion to a moving and well written story.