Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Imagine that a new government immediately takes over your state and informs you that women are no longer to work, attend formal education, be seen in public without a head to toe covering and a related male chaperone, and must not communicate with any male outside of their own families. I am not sure that our own experiences and culture would even allow our brains to begin to rightly imagine such a dramatic change in lifestyle, but The Dressmaker of Khair Khana portrays a true story of women from Kabul, Afghanistan who experienced just that. Overnight, their lives change from a largely westernized lifestyle to one of seclusion from society. Many families were, therefore, left without providers for the family, as widows were not permitted to work and many young men had to leave their families in order to escape forced service to, or death by, the Taliban.

After weeks of being shut up at home, shut out of pursuing her education and career, and having to part with her father, mother, and one of her brothers, Kamila Sidiqi was faced with finding a way to provide for her many younger sisters and brother.  Through the challenge, this brave and strong-willed young lady became an entrepreneur who provided employment and hope, not only for her own family, but for her community as well.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a well-written account of life suddenly taken under Taliban control. It gives an exceptional picture of how fear-filled such a life is and what a difference one brave, quick-minded woman can make. The dressmakers accepted the restrictions placed on them and excelled despite them. They are truly inspiring.

There is so much depth to Lemmon’s The Dressmaker of Khair Khana that it is a must read!

Rating: 5/5

Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.