Adult Romance, My Favorite Books, Reviews

My 5 star review of The Poppy Field Diary by Carey Richard

The Poppy Field Diary

The Poppy Field Diary by Carey Richard

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: September 1, 2014


With the timeless story and heartfelt prose reminiscent of the works of Christina Baker Kline, Anthony Doerr and JoJo Moyes, award winning Carey Richard’s The Poppy Field Diary is a compelling journey into the human heart and the lengths to which we will go to preserve our most endearing relationships.
Sometimes it takes a moment . . . Sometimes it takes a lifetime . . . Sometimes a lifetime is not enough
In the summer of 1962 Nikita Khrushchev shipped medium-range nuclear missiles to Cuba. That summer she fell in love. While the United States withdrew from Vietnam, her oldest son trained for the buzkashi, the wild game of Afghan polo brought to her country by Genghis Khan. As the Russians invaded Afghanistan, her husband ran guns and opium through the Khyber Pass; as they retreated, she matched wits with a beautiful Czech spy. While the Taliban ravaged Kabul, she cared for a wounded bacha bereesh, an Afghan dancing boy. As the Twin Towers burned, she discovered one of life’s most precious secrets.
Professional Reviews
“In Richard’s poetic, introspective first novel, after an Afghan woman marries for love in a culture of arranged marriages and multiple wives, she begins a lifelong journey of self-discovery . . . Richard concludes each chapter with haiku-like poems, but his prose also sings lyrically . . . Despite the meditative nature of the narrative, historical action continuously looms in the background the Soviet collapse, factional warring, the rise of the Taliban, and the similarly timed attacks on the World Trade Center and mujahedeen leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.”
“A highly personal story that mines the psychology of betrayal and forgiveness.” -Kirkus Reviews
The descriptive passages were outstanding, very vivid, and the reader feels certain that they reflect the author’s experiences. The author knows the culture of Afghanistan and presents it in a sympathetic manner, rather than in the judgmental fashion that one might expect from a Western observer. I feel that my review does not do justice to this book. It is easy to read, it is thought-provoking, and it will stir your emotions. It is absolutely a wonderful book! -David Burnett for the Kindle Book Review
I was drawn into this book from the first chapter. -Samantha Dewitt for the Readers Favorite Review

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Move over ladies. This man knows how to write romance! Compelling…beautiful…emotional…one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading all year!

The writing is absolutely breathtaking.  Carey takes you on a journey that you will never want to be over.  I consumed this book in a little over a day and it’s not a light read people.  Half romance, half history lesson. You can tell the author is very educated in the Afghan culture.  I loved the poems at the end of each chapter.

This is a story of love, betrayal, forgiveness and falling in love again. This is a very difficult in-depth review to write so please bare with me.

1962, in the midst of Afghanistan’s golden era was a young girl that spent her days lounging in the poppy fields reading her books.  That’s where she was truly the happiest, where she was truly at peace, that is where she found love.


I wanted to run, but was afraid.  I wanted to call to him but was ashamed. I wanted him to call to me but prayed he would not. I felt a peculiar pounding in my breast, and my face warmed in a startled flush.  I hid behind a tree, begging God to send him away and hoping God would not hear my prayer. And suddenly he stood before me, smiling gazing intently.  He kept a respectful distance and said in a gentle voice, “Hello, little one.”





I called him my husband before I even knew his name.


Her mother was her confidant and her best friend.  After her father died she was the one that educated her and shared her wisdom.



“The terror of love,” she said.  “Love is an wild and untamed beast that will frighten but fascinate you.  It will tear you apart and make you strong It will hold you captive and set you free.  It is something to fear and something to embrace.  It will destroy you or make you into something that you never thought you could be.  It is the greatest risk of life and the greatest reward.  Yes, it is terrifying.”


Admir was kind and loving.  They immediately fell madly in love and wed soon after.  She was only seventeen, a virgin as was custom, she moved to her husbands compound where they raised horses.  She missed her mother so but quickly became friends with her mother in law.  Time passed and she bared him three sons. The boys were nurtured and loved by their mother but as soon as they were old enough her husband forced them into the world of horses and weapons.  She resented him for taking their youth away from them.

Fast forward a few years when the Russians invaded Afghanistan.  Her husband started selling weapons, opium  and horses to both sides.  He became a very powerful and wealthy man in the process and moved them to their own compound in Kapul.

She felt she was slowly losing the man she fell in love with and the man she called husband was becoming a stranger.  While the war rages on she learns of her husband’s betrayal.  She is left feeling inadequate, distraught, angry, sad, confused…



No knife cuts as deep as the one held in the hand of a lover, I thought.  The wound of a lover is fatal.  There is no recovery from such a wound.  And the accusing voices quieted.  As my husband sank into his own dark well of sorrow.  I struggled to resolve my wordless contradictions.  There is no one left to forgive an unfaithful lover, I thought.  Because the one that must forgive is dead and she is forgotten.


With one son in the war and the other two sent to safety with relatives in Pakistan she is faced with the fact that she is alone and bitter.  Unable to forgive, she is but a mere shell of her once vibrant former self.  Forced to live with a man that doesn’t love her in a place that is not her home.

As the years pass, she finds solitude in her garden and books and wants very much to rid her heart of bitterness and learn to forgive and love her husband again.



It felt wrong to feel ashamed but I felt ashamed.  I felt ashamed that I had abandoned hope.  I felt ashamed that I had slapped him that day in the car as we drove through the battlefield.  I was torn between my constant smoldering anger and my desire to move past my hurt.  My heart was ripped into two pieces.  And one piece said I hate you for what you did to me, while the other piece said I want to forgive you, and I want you back again and I want to love you.


A savior came to her in the form of a very sick thirteen year old dancing boy that had an badly infected amputated leg.  She nursed him back to health and he soon became very special to her.  She taught him how to read and about books and about her travels and the world. He made her laugh. He made her feel alive.  When her husband was traveling they would spend there days working in the garden and their nights reading out loud. She felt he was the son she never got to have.

Meanwhile while the Taliban started taking a stronghold on the country she was living safely behind her compound walls.  She missed her poppy fields fiercely, she missed her youth and her husband.



I was grateful for all the things my husband had provided for me. I knew he did those things out of love.  But I longed not just for an ordered world.  I longed for an ordered heart.  I wish he could bring order to our troubled past. 



In 2001 the year the Taliban bombed the World Trade Center she because ill.  She returned with her husband to her beloved poppy fields.  Now an old woman.  It was during that time that she got to finally feel true forgiveness.  It was during those long winter months that she finally fell in love.

One final note the appendix was truly amazing and unexpected.  This book is recommend for anyone that has ever loved.  Anyone that ever wants to fall in love and anyone that has ever truly forgiven someone and found love again.



As I gazed on that land, I knew that my journey has ended.  And I knew in the valley below, a man would mourn my departure.  And I knew his love was true.



Carey RichardCarey Richard

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Carey is a bit of a roamer, but as Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost.”
He spends about half of each year overseas and half in the United States. He enjoys cycling, backpacking, kayaking, skating, long-boarding, and anything outdoors.
He has a liberal arts degree in philosophy, religion, and English literature. Though he has traveled in more than forty-seven nations, he still has a certain wanderlust.

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