Friday, November 21, 2014
Prague Summer by Jeffrey Condran
The book begins with the story of six female friends, who, post-college, shared a house together on Coventry Drive, in the U.S.A. This house was the focal point for fun and glamor, and a testing ground for any potential man friends. All the girls weighed in on each other's dates!
One of the girls, Stephanie, married Henry Martin, and moved to Prague. Stephanie is a career diplomat assigned to the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Prague. Henry is a rare book dealer who can work anywhere. He opens a book store called, of all things, "Hades."
Fast forward some years, and one of Stephanie's friends from the Coventry Drive house, Selma, comes to visit, ostensibly to recover from a crisis. Selma's husband, Mansour Al-Khatoub was arrested under the Patriot Act and jailed in the US for unknown reasons. He was there on a work visa, and Selma claims he was arrested merely for being an Arab in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Selma says she has come to Prague to escape from her husband's grim fortune, and while she is there, never ceases lobbying U.S. congressmen and senators, hoping they can secure her husband's release.
It turns out that she also has an ulterior motive behind her visit to her old pal Stephanie and her suggestible husband Henry - Selma plans, through whatever means necessary, to convince Henry that his wife Stephanie should use her considerable connections and influence at the Embassy to get Mansour released.
Good writing, suspense, an intriguing storyline about the rare book world, and lots to think about in terms of friendships and loyalties - what would one do (or not do) for a friend, or a lover?
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