If you have seen the DVD/TV special of this story by the same name, I suggest you read the book before passing judgement. It is the story of a woman who marries an Iranian studying and working in the United States as a medical doctor. His career is languishing. At the same time he is excited about the rise of the Ayatollah to power in Iran and decides to return. He is determined to bring his wife and daughter and convince them to accept Islamic ways. He tricks them into coming on a two week vacation to Iran and uses the new Iranian laws that give husbands total authority to force them to stay in Iran. One is left wondering whether it was a child custody battle. Betty is free to divorce him and leave, but the child is his property and an Iranian citizen and must stay. The film depiction of the story focuses on spousal abuse, Islamic law, and Betty's escape with her daughter through the help of smugglers who take them to Turkey.
The book reveals details of the relationship between Moody and Betty that indicate that before they left for Iran, it had already become a chess game between them regarding who would get custody of their daughter and in which country she would be raised. It is also a very revealing portrait of the unintended consequences of the marital contract which is interpreted and enforced differently by governments around the world.
I gave this book three stars because it is rambling, provides too much irrelevant detail, and can be tedious to wade through to find the significant scenes and events. Some of the details, for the reader who has the patience, do reveal that Moody experienced a moral awakening and conversion back to Islam that had irreconcilable repercussions in his marriage and his life. He is not the monster depicted in the film. He is a tortured man trying to reconcile his American family and past life with his Islamic beliefs and does so within the boundaries of Islamic law. Unfortunately, Christian and Islamic cultures do not reconcile. Betty would have to choose for herself and for her daughter. It is a tragic story of a marriage. Moody is now dead and never remarried. Betty and her daughter live in America under assumed names for fear that her daughter, an Iranian citizen, could be kidnapped and returned to Iran.