Sacked from Sainsbury's Supermarket for daydreaming at her checkout, Tracy Pringle took this experience as an opportunity to embark on a new life - a life that may fulfil her desire to live in the way she imagines during the nights spent in the private fantasy world of her bedroom in the council flat she shares with her working class family and an escape from her ignorant, racist and sexist boyfriend Ricky.
Tracy begins work in an Iranian restaurant, Taste of Persia, run by the squat middle aged Sam and his exotic French wife Yvette. It doesn't take long for Tracy to discover, waiting at home for Sam, is his other wife Firouzeh and her four children. A legacy from his younger brother, killed by a car bomb, Sam is duty bound to look after his own, even if it means keeping two wives.
To the horror of Tracy's parents, and the delight of Sam's wives, Tracy agrees to be his third wife. She is an intelligent young woman and throws herself into her new life and culture by trying to learn and understand the Koran. But tongues start to wag at the unconventional arrangements and Social Services, tipped off by an anonymous caller, investigate the marriages.
At this point the story moves from being a simple love story with culture clash to something more sinister. It explores the lengths people of all cultures will pursue to protect their families and their beliefs, and how petty jealousies and ignorance can destroy families and stretch love and loyalty to the limit.
Although the story is written from the changing point of view of many of its main characters I found this style easy to read and not as confusing as it could have been. The straightforward language allows the reader to enter into the lives of Tracy and Sam and want to stay with them. At times I found the simple dialogue too true to actual speech and full of clichés. This slows the pace of the story. The author also has a tendency to labour a point which dilutes the impact of the original comment. There were times when my red pen itched to write 'do you need' in the margins.
Despite these failings in the novel I enjoyed the read and marvelled at the sympathetic knowledge the author includes about the Iranian people. This brings to life the predicament of the family but also gifts the reader with an insight into the Persian culture, its romantic rituals and its poetry.