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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Secrets We Live In: A Novel by Fazle Chowdhury is a high-level tale of intrigue, murder, and back-room deals that define foreign policy. Zain Auzaar is a newly appointed ambassador for his country to France. He has quickly made a name for himself in diplomatic circles as unconventional, a profligate spendthrift, a heavy drinker, and a showman of the highest caliber. His Paris diplomatic parties are legendary but beneath all the flash and color, Auzaar is determined to make a difference and to push through his country’s nuclear deal, which it so desperately needs. When he chances across a face from the past at one of his legendary parties--a married woman he once loved deeply and one he has never truly forgotten but whom he believed to be dead--his carefully orchestrated world starts to crumble. Caught up in the refugee crisis that was currently sweeping across France, Auzaar must carefully balance his responsibilities to his employers, his country, and the diplomatic community as a whole with his depth of concern for the refugees and his certainty that he has found his one and only true love and that somehow, he must unravel the mysteries of the past and find out the truth.
The Secrets We Live In: A Novel is a complicated web of intrigue and counter-conspiracies that define the rarefied world of the diplomatic community. Author Fazle Chowdhury has managed to create a cast of characters that are, on the surface, intelligent, sophisticated, urbane, and working for the betterment of their own country’s position and humanity as a whole, yet frequently are as rotten to the core and as driven by personal foibles, desires, and status as any of the politicians which they so frequently disparage. The plot is twisting, complicated, and well-constructed. What I particularly enjoyed was the author’s ability to draw out the sensitive, caring, and humanitarian side of Auzaar who had been born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth and carried himself publicly with all the arrogance and status that his exalted position dictated. The author did a fine job of showing us the deep insecurities and doubts of this young and dynamic ambassador that allow the reader to identify with him and feel empathy and a degree of sympathy. The plot, the characters’ motivations, and the ultimate conclusion are carefully constructed and will keep the reader enthralled to the end. I did enjoy this read and can recommend it.