Before you say anything…I know…never end a sentence with a preposition. That’s why I’m reviewing the books and not writing them – I get so excited when it’s time to review books sometimes that I just can’t come up with a title suitable to reflect how I feel. In this case, I have the added problem writing a title for two entirely different stories in two different genres.
So why review them together? They both sucked me in so quickly, they BOTH proved to be a great escape.
Ok, so I basically sat and did nothing until I finished these books. You caught me. I don’t care. Let’s start already, because it’s time for me to tell you What I’m Reading Wednesday!
My first pick is The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi. When you pick up this book, pour yourself a cup of tea, curl up in a quiet room, and clear your calendar. This book was just breathtaking, breathtaking and heartbreaking. The writing is beautifully descriptive, so rich and colorful.
And, oh, how it makes you FEEL. When we are children, we don’t always make the right decisions – our choices are guided by childish thoughts. So can we be held to blame for the mistakes we made as children? What if they have horrible consequences? Can we forgive the betrayal of a child, of a parent?
This was the question I found myself asking myself throughout this book.
Set in India, the book begins in 1986 with Mukta, a young girl whose mother and family before her belong to a caste of women who practice Devadasi, where young girls are wed to the temple goddess. They are prostitutes of the temple. Mukta’s mother hopes to help her escape this fate, but her grandmother has other plans for her. After a heart-breaking event, she is spirited away to Bombay by a man who helps find homes for orphans, often having them live with his family until an orphanage can be found.
In this case, however, Mukta lives with them for a number of years and forms a deep friendship with Tara, the daughter of the man who rescued her. Tara’s mother barely tolerates Mukta’s presence and makes her sleep in a small storage room and perform household chores for them. This doesn’t prevent Tara from secretly teaching Mukta to read – like her father, she doesn’t quite accept the differences in the castes.
Yet another tragedy occurs, this time deeply affecting Tara and her father. Shortly after, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room in the middle of the night. Mukta’s life take yet another tragic turn and her the next chapter in her story is painful, horrific and desperate – and yet she never stops believing that Tara will find her.
Haunted by the tragedies in a house filled with memories, and thinking Mukta was killed, Tara and her father move to the US to begin a new life. However, upon her father’s death Tara realizes that Mukta is still alive, and feeling responsible for her kidnapping, she returns to Bombay to search for Mukta. She works with, and eventually for, an NGO that helps women escape prostitution.
This is a story that will stick with you, poke at you, and fill you with rage. It’s a tragic story far too rooted in reality. A story of friendship and sisterhood betrayed, and you will ask yourself – could you forgive?
This isn’t a light topic – it tackles the problems prostitution and corruption that exist today in India, HIV, and sex slavery, but it is also about the enduring power of friendship and really, one of hope. Amita Trasi’s treatment of the subject is skillful, weaving a tale that leaves you horrified, hopeful and yet glued to the page.
The Color of Our Sky by was released on June 30, 2015, published by Bloomhill Books, and is available on Amazon.com and in bookstores. More info on Amita Trasi can be found on her website, www.amitatrasi.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Now, changing gears completely….
My next pick, Love Will Always Find You by author Claire Matthews is a mystery and a romance. You might find it an awkward pairing but I do bounce from genre to genre to keep things interesting!
I’ll kick this off by saying that if you were a fan of the TV series “Gilmore Girls”, you will love this book because the dialogue between the main characters resembles that same rapid fire, super clever and funny banter shared by Lorelei and Rory.
Writer and dog walker Evie Malone needs to break up with her incredibly boring dentist boyfriend gently – and soon – because he is talking marriage. Unfortunately, on the night she plans to do the deed, she discovers boyfriend Brad dead in his apartment, and evidence quickly piles up that points in her direction.
To complicate matters she discovers that the grouchy, impatient man with the sexy voice who just hired her to train a dog he inherited from his aunt, the one she finds herself attracted to upon meeting (before the big break up), yes, he is the detective assigned to her case.
While Detective Luke Kovacs does believe her innocence, evidence continues to pile up. Weirder yet is her (now-dead-but-not-quite) ex boyfriend’s mom and the mom’s pushy boyfriend and the way they are behaving. Evie is shocked to discover her boyfriend left everything to her, and she is learning that she didn’t know her ex as well as she thought she did.
Matthews has written an engaging cast of characters, quick witty dialogue that will have you laughing, a great mystery and a fun romance. The story moves quickly and I fell in love with the characters. Fans of Nora Roberts and Denise Grover Swank will love this book! I will definitely be looking for more full-length books by Claire Matthews as they provided a fun, welcome break.
Love Will Always Find You will be released on September 15, 2015 and is published by Samhain Publishing.
Advanced reader copies were provided to me by NetGalley from Bloomhill Books and Samhain Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions found here are mine alone.
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