This poignant memoir tells a riveting story of hope and despair, of freedom and longing. As an American aid worker of Arab descent, Manal Omar''s background gave her an all-access pass to the dramatic shift in the fortunes of Iraq''s women following the invasion in 2003, which destroyed hopes for a more liberated lifestyle. Witness to a struggle that few outsiders saw, Omar chronicles the journey of a people determined to rise from the ashes of war and sanctions and recreate themselves in the face of overwhelming obstacles. This is the story of her friendships with those whose lives were crumbling before her eyes. It is a tale of love, as her relationship with one Iraqi man intensified in a country in turmoil. And it is the stories of the women of Iraq, as they grapple with what it means to be female in a homeland you no longer recognize.