Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Amanda Melamed-Lifshin

Forced Circumstances

Pages: 522 Ratings:
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Forced Circumstances tells the story of a young 22-year old British woman living in 1960s Iran, bringing together a fragmented family amidst the turmoil of the Shah’s rule.

Married to an Iranian man with two children from a previous marriage, our bold protagonist takes on the complex role of stepmother to kids unaccustomed to affection or stability. Navigating traditions requiring full body coverings and forbidding women to venture out alone, she faces intense challenges as a conspicuous foreigner subject to contempt and harassment.

Did she quietly harbour regrets over tying her fate to such complications instead of a more comfortable English life? Would the eruption of Ayatollah Khomeini and Iran’s Islamic Revolution provide the leverage needed to hold their Jewish family together? Or drive them further toward resentment and dysfunction in a now-perilous homeland?

Relating this family’s ambitions, sacrifices, and conflicts across clashing societal upheavals, the memoir serves up lessons in perseverance and perspective. It illuminates the timeless experiences that unfold when different cultures combine under a single roof - and what it truly takes to transform that awkward juxtaposition into a nurturing sense of home.

Amanda Trollope or Mandy as she was called by friends and family, being a spontaneous person and trusting in the future, agreed to travel to Iran for a visit, by car. She was newly wed to an irresistible Iranian and was already three months pregnant.

Arriving in Iran, or Persia as it was known in those days of 1964, was quite a shock to the system. However, the hospitality of his family put her mind at rest; they were on holiday weren’t they? She was sure she would meet whatever came her way just as she had been taught by her loving parents and would manage. Just the bathroom facilities nearly bowled her over.

Agreeing to stay in Persia put her stamina to test. But with the love of her husband, together they began to build a life.

The difference in cultures was difficult to understand let alone compare. Mandy decided she would concentrate on bringing up her children in love, just as she had been. She wanted to give them all the tools she could, to deal with life’s trials and tribulations.

She decided they would bring her husband’s two children, of nine and ten years old, to Persia, taking them out of their boarding school in England; where they were desperately unhappy. Mandy could no longer bear to read their letters so full of tears and feelings of abandonment.

The journey to build a worthwhile life together was full of ups and downs but bravely faced. Despite having to share the family home with sixteen other members of his family, they made the best of it and learned a few lessons.

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