by Ashley Dartnell
Two Roads (e-book)
A mother with secrets and a father who was never a good enough husband. In Farangi Girl Ashley Dartnell tells of growing up in Iran, and later the US, in a way that will make you wonder why her parents ever bothered having children. With her two brothers, Dartnell was told lie after lie to explain the different 'uncles' who hung around her mother, including Martin (her father's business partner). Only years later would Dartnell discover love letters that Martin had written to her mother, a dissatisfied woman given to shrieking, 'You kids ... are sucking the life out of me.' Then there was the alcoholic Tom, who turned his attentions to Ashley when she was a teenager. The early stages are set in Iran in the 1960s, when life for her family (her father was a Cambridge-educated Brit, her glamorous mother American) was one of privilege. Dartnell's unsentimental honesty adds much to a tale that could easily have been an unreadable victim's story. Instead it provides an insight into difficult relationships and familial ties that bind and fray.