Amita Trasi (Goodreads Author)
A sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends—one struggling to survive the human slave trade and the other on a mission to save her—two girls whose lives converge only to change one fateful night in 1993.
India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before. As time goes by, their bond grows to be as strong as that between sisters. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room.
Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time.
I received this book from NetGalley and Bloomhill Books in exchange for an honest review. No monies have been given or received.
Words cannot begin to describe how I feel about this book but I will try my best. This is the first book by Amita Trasi I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I hope to read many more stories from this truly gifted author. The world she weaves around the two girls in this story is just breath-taking. I read the first page and forced myself to not read the book in one day. I wanted to cherish the characters Amita created and to really feel absorbed in the story as it happened.
This is the second book I’ve read with India as the backdrop. Each book has made me want to witness India with my own eyes. I want to see the beauty of this century’s old country and I also want to see the poverty and corruption that cast shadows. The history of this incredible mass of land seems endless. It begs to be discovered by those of us with only fragmented ideas of what we think of India as a country. Our minds eye does not provide the proper imagery to truly appreciate this country.
Each chapter is told by Tara or Mukta during the years they share together, the years before they meet for the first time and how each girl’s life plays out after they get separated.
The world through Tara’s eyes was a delight, she was a child so filled with love for her family and those around her that you just wanted to reach out and touch the glow that came from her soul. She was a child that was always secure in her parents love. She hasn’t been jaded by broken families or the horrors of poverty.
“My Papa’s extraordinary thoughts wash over my childhood memories in waves, come and go, and I often think of him, the lessons he taught me in my journey of life. – TARA”
Mukta is older than her years, she has been jaded by a broken family and poverty but she has this eternal optimism that can’t be destroyed despite the awful and horrific things that happen to her throughout her life. Born to a temple prostitute and destined to become one herself she still envisions a life beyond the path chosen for her. Mutka’s main goal and priority in life is to meet her father, to feel the love she witnesses in other families with fathers. She knows her mother loves her but is it enough to save her from destiny? Will her father come rescue her like her Amma promised?
“It took me most of my childhood to realize that traditions have infinite power over us.
Chapter after chapter you become so engrossed with Mukta and Tara you begin to have your own hopes and dreams for both girls. You want to save Mukta from the pimps and brothels. You want to console Tara in her loss. These girls become real, what affects their lives begins to affect you as well.
Mukta’s tragedy leads her into Tara’s life and Tara’s tragedy helps to instigate more danger for Mukta in the future. Being a small child Tara makes some bad choices that lead her to believe she is responsible to Mukta’s kidnapping. The shame and guilt she feels prevent her from giving all the information needed that could have helped to recover Mutka. Tara blames herself for so many years but really she was just a small girl who was angry at the events in her life that lead to her losing someone important. Her actions don’t cause the reaction she believes they do but that doesn’t alieve the guilt, even after she learns the truth.
In the years between the kidnapping and Tara’s search for Mutka the author begins to unravel a tale that is more about how the society in India works than it is about just this one story. What you learn in these 318 pages is that unfortunately Mukta’s story isn’t unique. This happens to girls every day! On a whole we all know it happens but the safety of “Out of sight, Out of mind” works more often than not because it’s easier to pretend it’s just a story. Granted we might live in a new world but the old world never went away.
One very important factor I discovered when I read this book was that when I allowed myself time to digest each word I was able to foresee pivotal moments later in the books. The author is extremely clever in how she places them. If you aren’t truly paying attention you’ll miss your opportunity to delve as deep as you can go with this book.
I give this book a 5 star rating, it couldn’t have been a more intriguing and emotional read. It was the perfect length and never became dull. Each page held so much knowledge and drove the story forward with each powerful paragraph. I recommend this book to the casual reader, a book club or a book whore like myself.
Buy this amazing book on amazon.com
About the Author
Amita Trasi is the author of the novel THE COLOR OF OUR SKY. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has an MBA in Human Resource Management and has worked with various International corporations for seven years. She currently lives in Houston with her husband and two cats. This is her first novel.