I received an ARC for review from Bloomhill Books and NetGalley.
This story of the horrors of the sex trade and the injustice of the caste system in India is told through the intertwining of the lives of two young girls, one born to the upper class and the other to brothel slavery.
Cons: I was left curious as to how Tara was managing for herself in India, arriving there rather suddenly and staying for five years, apparently without a job. I know the focus of the story was on Tara and Mukta, but something of the rest of Tara’s life would have rounded her out. Both Tara’s and Mukta’s voices sounded the same, but the details of the two girls’ lives were intriguing enough that I could overlook it.
Pros: The hopelessness of forced prostitution, further cursed by a heartless bureaucracy and a trail gone cold eleven years ago, were told so matter-of-factly as to make it even more brutal. Excellent sense of place; I really felt the heat and humidity and pouring rain, saw the rural villages and garbage-strewn red-light district. I felt the futility of social status and human worth assigned by one’s station of birth. I felt the loving bonds between the characters and the hope that stays alive underneath all the ugliness.
A moving story, well told. Kudos!
Bonus points for the cover, one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.