Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald, the follow up to her 2007 novel, Veil of Roses (read my review), continues the tale of Iranian native Tamila Soroush and her new life in the United States. Marrying American Ike Hanson after a whirlwind romance and a Vegas wedding, Tami starts the process to get her green card, so she can have a happily ever after in America.
However, Ike’s family is less than pleased with Ike’s quickie marriage to a foreigner. Plus, “fiancés” of Tami’s past come to haunt her causing an immigration nightmare for the girl who was only in the states on a three month tourist visa (of course, she was trying to stay in America through arranged marriages with men she did not love).
As Tami and Ike forge ahead with their plans to open a coffee shop, they realize that maybe they are in over their heads. Marriage is tougher than they thought it would be, especially without the support of Ike’s close-knit family. Plus, Tami, who was born and raised in Iran still battles with understanding the customs and freedoms of Americans.
Many of the lovable characters from the first book, Veil of Roses, return for a second round, including Rose, Tami’s English class, and Tami’s sister and brother-in-law. While it isn’t necessary to read Veil of Roses to understand Dreaming in English, it is recommended to gain a greater understanding of Tami, her former life in Iran, and her relationship with Ike. However, Fitzgerald does an excellent job of bringing readers up to speed.
I thought Dreaming in English was wonderful! I enjoyed learning about Iranian customs, and was surprised by the bleak lives Iranian women still endure. Seeing the world and “every day acts of rebellion” through Tami’s eyes is refreshing. Fitzgerald didn’t sugarcoat Tami’s story and she’s far from a perfect heroine. Like many woman, Tami struggles to stand up for herself and battles her own self-worth. She’s also an incredibly likable character, who thinks and dreams deeply.
Both Veil of Roses and Dreaming in English are great reads, whether read as a set or individually. To see America through the eyes of an immigrant is refreshing, especially because many Americans have become so blind to the freedoms they enjoy.
Amy’s Score: 4
*Thank you to NAL Trade for sending me a review copy of this book!*