In a little coffee shop in Kabul, a quiet revolution is taking place. A free-spirited American brings a group of men and women together to change lives, to change stereotypes and to change the future.
Yazmina, a new widow is taken as payment for her uncle’s debts. When she is discovered to be pregnant, she is beaten and left for dead. Sunny, an American who owns a successful coffee shop takes her in. There Yazmina must hide the secrecy of her pregnancy from Sunny, Halajan, an older window with a few new ideas, and the others that make up the staff and the customers of the shop. In her culture, a pregnant woman without a husband may be beaten to death, her baby either sold into sex slavery or killed itself.
Along the way, there is Isabel, an investigative journalist from the BBC who uncovers some difficult truths about women in the poppy fields, Candance a transplanted Bostonian who wants to do good but may have wound up a Taliban man as her lover, Jack, stable and daring but married, and an Afghanistan man who may be willing to risk it all for love.
A Cup of Friendship is the story of women who bond with a bit of romance on the side. While it takes place in worn torn Kabul, the violence happens mostly in the background. It is chic-lit but with a message. And while the writing can be a bit stilted and the plot predictable, it is evident that the author, who has real life experience of living as an ex-pat in Afghanistan, has a passion for Kabul and the issues of women in that culture.
Don’t expect anything haunting or gritty, but the characters are likable if not always believable, and the issues facing Afghani women you will read about are all too real.