Farah is a young lawyer living and working in London. She’s just ended a long relationship, and
her parents are looking for a husband – whether Farah wants one or not. So far, so normal. But
at a work dinner, hosted by a dangerously powerful man, she comes across a young woman
called Razia, who Farah soon realises is being kept as a domestic slave.
We follow Farah’s daring investigations from the law courts of London to the brick kilns of
Lahore, as she begins to uncover the traps that keep generation after generation enslaved.
Everywhere she turns there is deep-rooted oppression and corruption, and when the authorities
finally intervene, their actions have dire consequences.
Farah teams up with a human rights lawyer, Ali, and the two become close… but can she trust
him; can they help Razia and others like her; and will they ever discover the explosive secret
behind these tragic events?
Ten Things About Me – By Abda Khan
1. My careers advisor told me that girls like me didn’t go to university
I came from a family where no one had gone past school leaving age. My careers advisor suggested that when I left school at 16, I should consider a job like typing. However, I wasn’t having any of it. I fought the cultural and class barriers, went onto sixth form, and university, and qualified as a solicitor. I can’t remember the career advisor’s name, but if I did, I would like to tell her that she was wrong.
2. My son weighed in at 10lb 5oz!
He was also 9 days early. My GP sent me to hospital for two growth scans, and each time I was told it was an ‘average’ sized baby, but in fact he emerged the size of an average three-month-old! I am only 5ft 2in, and luckily, he was delivered by caesarean section, but I did end up with a slipped disc.
3. I have met three Prime Ministers
I’m not really quite sure how, but I’ve managed to meet three PMs – John Major, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. And that’s it.
4. I have a terrible sweet tooth
Never, ever open a box of mitai (Asian sweets), baklawa or chocolates if I’m around, as I will finish the whole box for sure. Even if you beg me to leave you the last one, I won’t. Sorry
5. I have travelled by road to Pakistan
When I was five years old, my mum and dad thought it would be cool to travel by road from England to Pakistan, like you do. On the whole it was pretty cool, until we had a little accident in Austria. My mum had to go to hospital, and I remember an old lady took us in for a bit, and she gave us fresh milk – freshly milked from the cows in her yard. She was such a kind woman; I have never forgotten her. The trip also involved stopping off at a huge house in Iran which had elaborate pools and fountains, driving along scary bridges, and a ride on camels when we reached Pakistan.
6. I have arachnophobia
When I was a child, I contracted a bad fever, and started to hallucinate. I could see hundreds of spiders (and snakes) absolutely everywhere; all over the floor, along the walls, on my clothes, on my mum’s clothes! Unsurprisingly, I am still petrified of spiders.
7. I collect teapots
Not sure when or how this obsession started. I think it links back to childhood memories of my mum’s pretty teapots. I now have all manner of teapots, including one shaped as a rabbit, and a ‘Big Ben’ teapot.
8. I have stayed in Jane Austen’s house
I was lucky enough to have a short break in an apartment in Jane Austen’s old house in Bath, overlooking Sydney Gardens. I don’t think the house is available to rent anymore. It was great staying in the same place in which she would have sat and written, and to roam the gardens in which she would have taken a turn.
9. Me and my work
I have worked as a lawyer for over 26 years, and I have been writing for the past 5 years. But I have had some other jobs too. My first ever job was as an Avon representative at the age of 15 years. I also ran a catering company for a while. And I have taught law at university. My voluntary roles (past and present) include school governor, charity trustee, school reading assistant, helpline worker, mentor, and a women’s ambassador. Oh, and I also used to work in the school tuck shop!
10. My favourite childhood memory
As we didn’t have much money, my mum used to grow her own fruit and veg at her allotment. I used to tag along and help her out for a bit, and then spend the rest of my time eating the raspberries and blackberries, before jumping on the rickety swing that my dad had put up for me. Lazy summer days on my swing, eating berries and chatting to my mum as she saw to her lettuces and tomatoes. Priceless.
Thank you, Abda Khan and Random Things Tours.
About the author
Abda Khan is an author and lawyer who works with victims of domestic violence. She was born in Bradford in
1969 to Pakistani immigrant parents, and she now lives and works in the West Midlands. Her first novel,
Stained, was published in 2016, and described by Booklist as ‘a contemporary Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. She
was Highly Commended as a finalist at the 2017 NatWest Asian Woman of Achievement Awards, in the Arts and