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Monday, January 30, 2017

Behind Picket Fences by Hend Hegazi - Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 Book review

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Review by Anniek

Four houses, four family's and four different ways of living. Everybody has their own opinions, their own choices to make and their own struggles. Most of the times these battles can be won together, but sometimes they have to be faced alone. Meet the people who live behind the picket fences:

Mariam and Morgan are living in the smallest house of their Street. Mariam decided to be a stay-at-home-mom for their four children. Unfortunately Morgan's income is not enough to cover the expenses. This forces Mariam to go back to work. She isn't happy with the decision, but is willing to put her own wishes aside for the benefit of the family. Morgan is a proud man and he's struggling with the fact that he can't provide for his family on his own. These financial problems could be the beginning of the end of their marriage.

Summer and Porter are happily married. Summer is an artist and Porter helped her to get into a routine that works. Porter has his own business and is a person who loves structure. He thinks that showing Summer how she can create more efficiently is the best way to tell her how much he appreciates her. Summer has the idea he isn't interested in her artwork and that makes her feel alone. The fact that she has a mental illness is making things even worse. When both of them are not filling each others needs happily ever after may turn out differently than they initially expected.

May and Hasan have an old-fashioned household. May is a stay-at-home-mom who takes care of their two children. May was incredibly successful at the job she had before she became a mother and has the outstanding offer to come back whenever she's ready. When May is not feeling well Hasan is taking over the care of their children. He will do anything to make May comfortable. After several medical examinations it turns out that May is even more ill than they thought. Taking on this, possible deadly, disease together will prove how much May and Hasan love each other.

On the outside Sidra and Farris must have the most perfect life imaginable. They are both successful at work and have enough money to live a comfortable life. They have the biggest house, the most expensive cars and their interior looks so good it could be featured in a magazine. Sidra and Farris are really happy together, but when their most desired wish stays unfulfilled Sidra starts to shut herself off. She doesn't know how to cope with the sadness and pain. Farris tries everything he can think of to get Sidra to let him back in, but what if he's already too late?

Behind Picket Fences is a realistic and honest story about four family's who live in the same street. My grandmother used to say: you're only seeing the outside, so don't judge people until you know what's happening on the inside. I kept this in mind while I was reading and she's so right. Hend Hegazi changed the way I look at my neighbors. When I see them now I find myself thinking about what their life could be like behind closed doors. The reality might very well be completely different from the image I have as a result of what they are showing me. Behind Picket Fences captivated me. All of the characters felt so real and even though what they are struggling with is difficult the story never became too heavy for me. These people could literally live in my street, which makes the story come fantastically close. Hend Hegazi's writing is amazing and I fell in love with her story straight away.


Have you always wanted to know what goes on Behind Picket Fences? Hend Hegazi shows you a glimpse of what the lives of others might be like. You will never look at your neighbors the same way again after reading this beautiful story.

About Hend Hegazi

Hend Hegazi was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts. Despite her desire to pursue writing as a profession, she graduated from Smith College with a degree in biology and a minor in religion. Shortly thereafter, the winds of life and love blew her to Egypt where she has been living for the past 14 years. She is a full time mother of four as well as a freelance writer and editor. Some of her work has been featured in SISTERS Magazine. Her fiction and poetry focus on the human condition, often shedding light on the Muslim American experience. Hend strives to be God-conscious and aims to raise that awareness in her readers. As a common theme in her pieces, the intimate relationship between God-consciousness and love is often explored. Hend’s debut novel, Normal Calm, was published in January 2014.


You can read her poetry and blog posts on her website,, and follow her on Facebook at For updates on giveaways and special offers, kindly opt-in to her free newsletter at this link

Both of her novels are available through most major book distributors, or click here to purchase through Amazon: Normal Calm, Behind Picket Fences.


At half past six she began to get worried, but told herself to give him fifteen more minutes. “His will be the next car around the turn,” she assured herself. But the passing of more than a few cars and fifteen minutes made her unable to wait any longer. She dialed his number once, with no answer. She hung up and dialed again immediately. The second time, there was an answer.

“Hello?” the woman’s voice said.

The words Summer had been ready to speak got lodged in her throat and she stood there, barely breathing.

“Hello?” the voice repeated, a little louder this time.

Summer’s hand began to shake and a moment later she let the phone drop from her weak fingers. Her breathing became labored and she raised her hand to her chest to soothe the jabbing, but the pain would not cease. Rather, it spread from her heart and ran all through her body. Her legs suddenly became too weak to hold her and she fell seated to the floor.

What a cruel way to tell me, Porter, she thought as the tears streamed down her face. So cruel.

The guilt in her told her she deserved it. She had deceived him in the worst way possible and broken his heart; why wouldn’t he seek comfort in the arms of someone else?

But then why had he agreed to dinner? Simply to get revenge? To make me feel the pain that I had put him through? Really? Why did I let myself get my hopes up? Why did I think he could forgive me? Why did I not expect him to turn to another woman? All the questions ran through her mind as her heavy breathing turned to sobs and she cradled herself, rocking back and forth. Porter had just shattered the last bit of hope she had been clinging to, and broken any remaining pieces of her heart.

The tears flowed for what felt like hours. When they finally stopped, she stood up feeling drained and jaded. Summer cleaned up the kitchen, her body unable to move at its usual pace. She threw the food directly into the garbage instead of putting it away in the fridge; she wanted no reminders of the evening she had expected to have. Carefully, she walked to her bedroom and stepped out of her dress and into a pair of sweat pants and a tank top. Pulling her hair into a tight pony tail, she turned off all the lights in the house, and paused just outside the bathroom. The medicine cabinet seemed to whisper her name.


One very lucky winner will receive a copy of Normal Calm and a copy of Behind Picket Fences by Hend Hegazi.


  1. Thanks for the hosting . I will buy the book if I don't win too and will surely review on Goodreads :) . But I do hope I will win B'coz honestly I don't know if mom will allow me to buy any more books :P. So yeah the review sounded good and well its true . No picture painted is the actual image of what's happening :)

    1. Thank you so much for your support! Good luck with the giveaway!

  2. Thank you so much for such a beautiful review. So glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Thanks for the giveaway.


  4. Do you base characters on people you know? :)

  5. The book review and excerpt sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Yes, I'd like to take a glimpse into my neighbor's lives. I'd also love to read this book :)

  7. This sounds like a good book. You never know what other people's lives are like. The grass isn't always greener.....

  8. Sounds like a book you wouldn't be able to put down and those are the best books.

  9. I would like to ask the author: when he realized that he wanted to write books?

  10. Sounds interesting. And I really do love the cover.

  11. How do you decided to write the book "Behind Picket Fences"? Was it a personal need?
    I find the concept really interesting!
    twitter name: @Vasiliki9280

  12. It would be interesting to find out how the lives of these four households develop.

  13. Sounds like a wonderful read.

  14. How do you name your characters? Do you use your friends' first names or make them up.

  15. sounds like a fascinating read

  16. sounds like a fascinating read

  17. The book review sounds interesting, great.