By Ashley Dartnell
Ashley Dartnell's mother was a glamorous American, her father a dashing Englishman, each trying to slough off their past and upgrade to a more romantic and exotic present in Iran. As the story starts, Ashley is eight years old and living in Tehran in the 1960s: the Shah was in power, life for Westerners was rich and privileged. But somehow it didn't all add up to a fairytale. There were bankruptcies and prisons, betrayals and lovers, lies and evasions. And throughout it all, Ashley's passionate and strong-willed mother, Genie. Stories of mothers and daughters are some of the most compelling in contemporary memoir, from The Liar's Club and The Glass Castle to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Bad Blood. Farangi Girl deserves to be in their company. It's an honest and endlessly recognisable portrait of a mother by a daughter who loved her (and was loved in return). Against this extraordinary background, Ashley's journey into adulthood was more helter-skelter than most and this portrait of a bewitching and endlessly inventive mother is surprising and deeply moving.