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The true story of
two Englishwomen in
war-torn Iraq

By Lynne O'Donnell
Cyan Communications


in the U.S.

in the U.K.


"No doubt those who conceived, promoted and prosecuted the war in Iraq were moved by high political principles, but at ground level in the streets of "liberated" Iraq it must seem like business worse than usual —corruption, extortion, death and injury, terror, infighting, food shortages and unreliable utilities. O'Donnell tells the stories of two Englishwomen in Mosul, married to Iraqi men, who have lived and dealt, within their family structures, since April 2003, with the consequences (perhaps unintended) of war. The political and human reality of their courage and endurance is immediate and visceral." --Iain Finlayson, The Times of London

"A good book can take something that seemed impenetrable and make such elegant sense of it that readers wonder why they never saw order in all that chaos before. Malcolm Gladwell did it for snap decision making. Jared Diamond did it for the rise of civilizations. Now Lynne O'Donnell, with High Tea in Mosul, does it for sniper fire and kidnapping threats. Four years into the war in Iraq, she captures with stark simplicity what it's like to live with ceaseless fear and violence." --Time Magazine

"Among the first Western journalists to enter Mosul after it fell to US troops in April, 2003, she takes you through the most sweeping changes there through this story. It's impossible not to love it. Her characters are strong, and they are resilient." --Deepika Gurdev, The Sunday Tribune

"This is a horrible story, but it is an excellent read. O'Donnell writes directly, punchily, at times lyrically, but always with an objective and self-effacing flair. This is a harrowing story but she refuses to allow it to descend into the maudlin, preferring to impart iron to the soul rather than to extract cheaply spent tears. She lets her two women speak for themselves. They are real, flesh and blood, women who you want to survive, to escape, to cease to suffer." --Nigel Collett, Asian Review of Books

"Lynne O'Donnell has not only written an excellent analytical book about Iraq but has managed to convey the tragedy of the war in a powerful humane manner. She represents one of the best examples of"peace journalism,"which seeks to give war a human face. " --Pacific Rim Book Review

[advance praise]

“This fine book, gracefully written, helps humanize the war in Iraq, Too often that horrific conflict can become so overwhelmingly grimy as to seem abstract. High Tea in Mosul helps bring that story down to earth.” --Christian Parenti, author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq

“ An excellent, insightful work that demonstrates how much was lost in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and a powerful examination of the suffering endured by the people who live there.” --Con Coughlin, author of Saddam: His Rise and Fall

“Lynne O'Donnell's story of two Englishwomen married to Iraqi men offers an extraordinary insight into life under Saddam and the sheer terror of life in the country today. It is also chronicles two remarkable tales of travel across a deep cultural divide to create stable, loyal marriages. Should be read by everyone who wants to get past the angry rhetoric about the war to a deeper understanding of the human beings caught up in it.” --Michael Goldfarb, author Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace: Surviving Under Saddam, Dying in the New Iraq

“Lynne O'Donnell is a fine writer and a brave woman. She has a powerful story to tell.” --Roger Alton, Editor, The Observer

“O'Donnell's emotional narrative examines Iraqi life in its entirety and shows that there is more to the country than violence and war. She chronicles friendship and family with stories about everyday life. A thorough look into Iraqi's past and present, O'Donnell's tale adds a human element to the developing history of a turbulent nation. --Publishers Weekly

"Lynne O'Donnell's poignant tale of two Englishwomen who married into
a provincial Iraqi town is also a clear-eyed documentary of the
tragedy of being born an ordinary Iraqi. From coping with sanctions-era hardships to ultimately losing their homes, Pauline and Elizabeth's story is one of the best accounts of the hopeless downward spiral of the middle classes of Iraq, first under Saddam Hussein and then the U.S. occupation." --Hugh Pope: author of Sons of the Conquerors: the Rise of the Turkic World and Turkey Unveiled: a History of Modern Turkey

“More than just a victim of America's misadventure, Lynne O'Donnell's Iraq is a nation teeming with life. Her lively and surprising account of two Englishwomen who lived in Iraq for several decades opens a welcome window to a land little understood.” --Adi Ignatius, Deputy Managing Editor, TIME

"Lynne O'Donnell's High Tea in Mosul is a gripping and elegantly written account of two Englishwomen who found themselves in the midst of world events. The heroines' intricate relationship with their adopted country allows the readers a unique opportunity to see life in post-invasion Iraq through the eyes of Westerners who are intimately familiar with the country. It is an immaculately researched, multifaceted and deeply personal story, through which O'Donnell tacitly conveys her own love and sympathy for the unraveling country. --Anna Badkhen, foreign and national correspondent, San Francisco Chronicle


[in the news]

The Age, of Melbourne, Australia, made High Tea in Mosul its Pick of the Week.

Interview with Lynne O'Donnell on Hong Kong Radio

Video: Lynne O'Donnell talks about High Tea in Mosul

[upcoming events]
To schedule an event or media appearance click here.

June 13
British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
Author Luncheon at the Hong Kong Club
Enquiries: katie@britcham.com
12:30 p.m.




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