“Great read about an American woman’s journey at the end of apartheid. This is a gripping insider’s account of a moment in time. Reading this book puts you in the center of the action. Mary’s journey as a newlywed and fish out of water in the 2 years leading to the end of apartheid in South Africa is compelling. She takes you on a historical and emotional roller coaster as she shares her story of her experience in the Foreign Service and America’s role in ending apartheid.”
“I could not put the book down the weekend I got it and promptly ordered several copies for friends and family because I had to share Mary's story. An amazing blend of personal memoir amidst a political history so important to know about. The entire time I read it I could imagine a movie being made.”
"This book gave an insider's glimpse into a piece of history that I lived through, but honestly didn't know much about. Mary Byron shares so much emotion and so many details of what it was like to be in South Africa at that time. She made this a very personal story and brought to life the dedicated people who worked behind the scenes at the American Embassy to organize everything and keep everyone safe while working toward the election. She also shed light on more than a few real-life characters who had lived with oppression for many years and allowed us to see the situation through their eyes. I highly recommend this book!"
“Remarkable Book by a Remarkable Woman! I read No Ordinary Life for a book club with the hope that the author would join us when we met to discuss it. I was hooked into this book from the very beginning. Mary takes the reader on a very personal journey through this important, dangerous time in South Africa’s history. Having the opportunity to meet Mary and ask additional questions, was icing on the cake! She is a remarkable woman with more stories to tell.”
“Phenomenal Inspiring Book! I absolutely loved this book! It should be required reading for couples going into the Foreign Service. What an incredible true story. Bravo for Mary for rising above a very foreign difficult situation and finding tremendous success.”
“Once I started reading, I could not stop! What an adventure. I felt like I was there with Mary.”
"Book is based on journals written during the Mandela crusade to give equal rights and voting rights to South African. Mary Byron gives us a first person narrative of the day to day living in an ever changing political climate set in the poverty of the country, the beauty of nature, wild animals and the challenges of diplomatic assignments. Wonder filled read!"
“This is a beautifully written memoir. Assigned to the Embassy in South Africa during the final tension and violence filled days of apartheid, Mary and her husband were affected both personally and professionally by the events swirling around them. Writing with candor and sensitivity, Ms. Byron evokes the highs and lows of that period, the impact on her and her colleagues of constant tension and worry, and the challenges in her marriage as both she and her husband become more engrossed in their work and more deeply affected by their environment. Few memoirs have captured this interplay of the personal and the historical as well as in this work.”