Dianna is looking for something new and exciting to get her out of her slump. In 1980's New York City, Dianna works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, however she is stuck typing out little green cards all day. Dianna longs to travel and help people, do something useful. Dianna meets Qasim and sparks fly. Qasim is older and well traveled. He is an Arab-Muslim U.N. official from Beirut, Lebanon. Qasim has known war in his home country for most of his life, and the present is no different. Qasim longs for peace and is trying his best to help through his position. As Dianna and Qasim spend more time together, they find out that love may not be enough to span the distance of race, religion, cultural differences and two histories filled with different pains.
I was drawn to the unique setting and issues that were covered in this story. I was very young when the war in Beirut was raging and I was glad to learn more about it from Qasim's point of view. With everything negative that we are inundated with from the Middle East, I enjoyed reading about the beauty of the land, the customs and Qasim's schooling. Dianna and Qasim's romance kept me in suspense. Moving very quickly at first and then getting derailed at several cultural, religious and social differences along the way. I was torn between Dianna and Qasim- feeling frustrated for Dianna, who was trying so hard to understand Qasim's culture and background and me mindful of their differences, however, she was never really filled in by Qasim except for being told it was too dangerous for her and for Qasim's need to separate himself from the negativity and weight of war and his strong ties to his homeland. I do wish that both Dianna and Qasim's pasts were delved into a little more, as I felt there would have been even more understanding uncovered there. Overall, a poetic and moving love story that uncovers much more than a romance. Although set thirty years ago, The Shores of Our Souls echos with themes that we are still struggling with today.