All Veils Are Off: The True Housewives of Qatar - Marguerette Heding
Qatar? It sounds like a bad lung condition! was Marguerette Heding's first reaction to her husband about moving there. Back in July 2008, this ultra-conservative Islamic country bordering Saudi Arabia wasn't on anyone's radar and the Lonely Planet Guide called it 'the dullest place on earth'. She didn't want to go - but apparently Allah had different plans . . .
'All Veils Are Off: The True Housewives of Qatar' is Marguerette's extraordinary, hilarious, though at times devastating account of her 8 years living in Qatar. Not only did she have to navigate the tricky expat community, but also the secret and fiercely protected world of the Qatari women - a world very few outsiders, particularly a wine-loving, dog owning Australian infidel are ever privy to.
As she became swept up into Qatari high society - a world of beautiful, rich and surprisingly empowered women - she earned their trust, becoming their confidant and Scheherazade, entrancing them with stories, as she too became entranced by them and their lives.
But all was not as it seemed, and cracks eventually started to appear. As the veils came off, Marguerette began to be exposed to the ugly side of this society; the rampant materialism, corruption, crippling indebtedness and the need to present the perfect facade. Devastatingly, she would later witness a tragic consequence of this tribal mindset. It would also force her to confront the darker sides of her inner self - which ultimately would lead to a powerful realisation; that in the end, this journey that Allah had sent her on wasn't just about lifting the veils on others, but also the lifting of her own.