I haven't read any of Kim Barnes's other books, but I may have to after finishing In the Kingdom of Men this week.
I loved being enveloped in a completely different world—Saudi Arabia in the late 1960's, amidst the American oil camps. It was a setting and time I knew nothing about until I read this book. From sandstorms and locust swarms to fragrant spices and ritual tea-drinking, this book bubbles with the rich sights, sounds, and struggles of life as an employee of the Arabian American Oil Company in 1967.
More poignantly, though, I loved the book's main character, Virginia Mitchell. Her complicated relationship with her high school sweetheart husband, her tangled family history, her refusal to be cowed by the overpowering men in her world, and her courageous curiosity made her a compelling character to follow throughout her journey. Gin sounds like someone I'd be friends with—or want to be.