The Meeting Point
Author: Lucy Caldwell
Challenge: ATW80 – Bahrain
When Euan and Ruth set off with their young daughter to live in Bahrain, it is meant to be an experience and adventure they will cherish. But on the night they arrive, Ruth discovers the truth behind the missionary work Euan has planned and feels her world start to crumble. Far from home, and with events spiralling towards war in nearby Iraq, she starts to question her faith – in Euan, in their marriage and in all she has held dear.
With Euan so often away, she is confined to their guarded compound with her neighbours and, in particular, Noor, a troubled teenager recently returned to Bahrain to live with her father. Confronted by temptations and doubt, each must make choices that could change all of their lives for ever. Compelling, passionate and deeply resonant, The Meeting Point is a novel about idealism and innocence, about the unexpected turns life can take and the dangers and chances that await us.
I have to admit that I was looking forward to reading this book when I picked it for my Around the World in 80 books challenge. Over the last 8 years in the military, I have had the opportunity to visit Bahrain several times (and loved every visit), so I was really looking forward to reading a book set there and seeing how much I recognized of the country. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the result. The vast majority of the book (probably about 75%) was set in the compound where Ruth and Euan were staying while in Bahrain. Now I know that recently Bahrain hasn’t been the safest place in the world to be, but prior to the “Arab Spring” as it is called, it was a great place to visit. There was so much to do and see. so the fact that there was really only one place highlighted that was visited during the book (the Tree of Life), it was like, oh well, she can google – that’s awesome…maybe I am being too harsh, but it always sucks when you are looking forward to reading something and it is disappointing. Ruth, as a character just pissed me off (sorry for the expletive), she was like a doormat to Euan – I guess she was supposed to be the submissive wife – but she wasn’t even that…she just drove me nuts.
The aspect of the religion in the book didn’t bother me that much, because I was able to see where it was heading. But it is still fustrating to see that in the 21st century, people still believe in trying to convert others to their beliefs – yes, I know – I shouldn’t be surprised, but it is still fustrating. Especially in middle eastern countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (where some of the characters actions took place without every actually being there). The mystery as to what was going on with the Bahraini girl (Noor), seemed under developed and just thrown in for some conflict and to add another character for interaction purposes.
I would have a hard time recommending this book to anyone and I know that I won’t be looking at any of her stuff in the future. I am actually considering possibly looking into another book on Bahrain to replace this one because I was so disappointed.