Refuge: A Novel by N.G. Osborne (book review)

Above edit inspired by “Refuge” novel, not for reposting elsewhere.


Something slightly different from me this time: a book review.  I was privileged to be asked by Maria at RPAustralia to share my thoughts and review a wonderful book they were promoting recently by N G Osborne, titled Refuge.  As Maria mentioned in her own review, (click here) if you are a fan of Remember Me you will know Nick Osborne was the producer (forever grateful to Nick – I hope he knows that!). 🙂  The above edit is just for fun, I loved the book and it inspired me plus I can’t seem to read a book without picturing Rob as the hero so….

So onto my review!  According to the blurb on amazon “Osborne spent twelve months as a volunteer for Project Trust working in a school and the Afghan refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. This experience was the inspiration for this novel.” I just wanted to highlight that because it really does shine through in this book. In my sheltered little world it was a small window into another culture; a fascinating glimpse which at times was shocking and heart-breaking and others uplifting or funny. There is enough in the descriptions to fire the imagination which is how all the best books are, right?

Refuge is a touching love story which packs a real punch and keeps you guessing right to the end and beyond.  The central characters are Noor and Charlie; Noor is an independent minded, determined, beautiful young Afghani woman teaching girls at a local school; Charlie is a young Gulf war veteran, disillusioned with the army and now an aid worker de-mining for a local agency.  Both call Peshawar home for the time being, both have dreams of something better.   There are of course many other characters involved in this story; Noor’s father, a former professor and refreshingly open in his outlook for his daughters’ future; Tariq, her brother and now involved with Mujahideen led by a Saudi Prince, both intent on power, and many more intriguing characters throughout. I think Charlie’s friend and deputy, Wali, needs a comment all to himself because he is truly wonderful. I would pay good money to read so much more from both of them! They are such fun and when things get tough you care all the more for them.

The story itself begins with Noor and her family fleeing Afghanistan in 1981 before ending up in the refugee camp, practically scratching out their existence. Noor has her heart set on obtaining a scholarship from a Western University which she sees as her only opportunity to escape from the daily struggles and provide a chance at a real future. Needless to say when Charlie literally bumps into her on her way home one day and follows her she eyes him with contempt and suspicion.  However, when Tariq callously betrays her, Noor and her family seek refuge in Charlie’s house and what follows is an incredible rollercoaster of a novel and one I whole-heartedly recommend. The main characters are strong, compelling and sympathetic; it is impossible not to get swept along with them on this journey.If I have one complaint it would just be that I didn’t want it to end; I couldn’t get enough of Charlie or Noor.If there’s any justice the next book in the series will follow shortly.  Refuge truly is an epic story in every sense.

Do yourself a favour, read this book and if the above hasn’t convinced you I’ll leave the final words with Noor’s father, because they are perfect: “You woke up her soul, Charlie. How could a father not be gladdened by that?”

Please note that if you are a member of a bookclub Nick is willing, where possible, to call in to do a Q&A with your group after reading – an opportunity not to be missed surely? 🙂

You can find Refuge at the following: Amazon (UK link here) and iTunes (search “osborne – refuge”)


2 comments on “Refuge: A Novel by N.G. Osborne (book review)”

  1. Got it a few weeks back & looking forward to reading it.

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