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Deceit of Lapwings is an excellent read, gripping to the end, opening the door on relationships between locals, domestic helpers and westerners in the UAE. If you’ve been there, you will love the insightful writing. If you haven’t, then you should read it anyway. Ms. Van Cleve has a wonderful way with words and a talent for storytelling that will have you always wanting to turn to the next page and never to put the book down!

Congratulations on an excellent novel!

Bob Myerscough

Retired English Teacher

Hainan, China

I recently finished Deceit of Lapwings. If this book doesn’t make the number one best seller list, I will be very surprised. This is a fingernail-biting thriller with a ton of suspense to the very end. I loved the journey you took me on to the UAE.

It was so creative how you set up the chapters with the names of the birds in both the English and Latin version - incredibly brilliant. You described each scene so vibrantly, making me want to see it and live it. I looked up every city, restaurant, Islamic home design, bird sanctuary, Islamic mall - you name it, I Googled it. It made me feel like I was there experiencing everything in the book. It took me someplace that I have not yet experienced and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know that part of the world. You built this story up so powerfully that I never wanted to put it down.


Every chapter was a story in itself. This book educated me on a variety of birds, different parts of the world, religious diversity (which I feel is really needed in this world today with what’s going on in our own country with such hatred and racism), and I had an absolutely exhilarating time exploring everything.


I absolutely fell in love with the characters; Nur, Rosa, Leila, and Little Mo. You made me loathe Numair. You really brought this book to life in a special way. Then the ending – which caught me completely off guard – ended with refinement and perfection.


I will be reading this book again after it is published. Thank you, again, Connie for trusting me with your novel. I think you’re a fabulous writer who did an absolutely spectacular job with this story. You had me hooked in the first chapter.

Jerri Craven Lusk

Administrative Assistant at 

University Physicians, Inc.

Denver, Colorado

Connie M Van Cleve’s novel, Deceit of Lapwings, is a harrowing journey into the duality of human nature.

The story takes place in the Middle East and explores the lives and fate of three women coming together as friends and allies, each from a different country, culture, and religious background. While being forced to comply daily with gender bias and oppression, the women struggle to define themselves within the confines of their culture, spirituality, and the behaviors expected from them by society. The realization that perhaps there are flaws in this mandated doctrine allows the exploration of the darker side of human nature.

The story’s protagonist, Alberta Bryant, otherwise known and referred to as Bertie, is a professional, thirty-something woman from America who, after suffering the humility of being left by her husband for someone more fertile, and struggling with a self-destructive streak and new-found identity crisis, takes a job offer in the United Arab Emirates to try to distance herself from her past and rediscover who she is.

It is here that she befriends Rosalinda, the Filippina house nanny of the wealthy Emirati/Saudi family who lives next door. Soon thereafter, she meets Nur (the mysterious veiled wife of the sadistic Saudi neighbor, Numair), and their beautiful children, Leila and Mohammed. And that’s where the challenge of Bertie’s life confronts her head on. Nothing is as it seems. Including herself.

The international cast of characters are masterfully fleshed out and brought to life, tailor made to either be loved or despised. The settings are artfully rendered in the reader’s mind through the vivid use of descriptions which fully engage all senses.  The observer sees the world, right and wrong, good and evil, through the filter of each of the character’s independent and unique cultures. Reading this book forced me to step outside of my own society’s prescribed definitions of accepted norms to view justice and injustice from the perspective of someone from a different culture, with a completely different background and belief system. 

Being a bit of a birder, I enjoyed the author’s use of bird groupings that were cleverly linked to the action in each chapter.

The ending took me completely by surprise!  For days after finishing the book, like a Rubik’s Cube, I had to keep shifting around the pieces until all sides were clearly seen and understood on their own. Only then did whole of the puzzle make sense. 

Take the journey! Not only will you be whisked away to exotic locales, you just might be forced to rediscover the map and boundaries of your own soul!


Spencer Dean

Freelance Themed Construction Artist & Consultant

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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