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STOLEN by Louise Monaghan

STOLEN

Escape from Syria

By Louise Monaghan

Pub Date: June 18th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-03027-6
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

An autobiographical account of a mother retrieving her kidnapped daughter from war-torn Syria.

While the book opens with a story about her ex-husband Mostafa’s abduction of their daughter, the majority of the narrative is dedicated to Monaghan’s reflections on an abusive relationship and how such a relationship progressed into a marriage. “I could have ended the relationship, but I loved Mostafa,” she writes. “I just couldn’t see through him.” After the death of her mother, the author moved from the familiarity of her relatives and home in Dublin to embrace a new start on the sunny beaches of Cyprus. She got off to a good start by establishing a strong social network and achieving a degree of financial comfort. However, her life was irreversibly changed after a chance meeting at a local nightclub with her handsome and charismatic future husband. Ignoring the initial signs of possessive behavior, Monaghan entered into an increasingly destructive relationship with Mostafa, and the author provides detailed descriptions of the verbal, physical and sexual abuse that she endured. When she finally decided to get out of the relationship, Mostafa struck his hardest blow yet by illegally taking their young daughter over international borders into Syria. With the civil war raging, Louise had to somehow gain entrance into Syria and then find a way to bring her daughter home—and she had to accomplish this daunting task with only minimal assistance from the Irish embassy and international law enforcement.

Although the story is weighed down by the extraneous details of a dark relationship, this is a courageous, and ultimately engrossing, story of a woman’s quest to bring her daughter back to safety.