Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
I'm typing this up while "camped" out at our local bookstore after a rainy day off from work and a round of shopping. Picked up some great reads at the second hand bookstore, became the proud owner of an AWESOME HARRY POTTER GRYFFINDOR CARDIGAN via Hot Topic at our local mall, and even found a cute outfit at Kohl's. I'd call that a win...nothing like a little retail therapy to help sooth the savage beast that work created the past two days (or rather brow-beaten, sloped back worker...*sigh*).
So, I'm sitting here in the cafe surrounded by books (freezing my tail off since they can't figure out that no one needs it to be 65 degrees inside even if it IS 100 outside), listening to the Genius Playlist on Spotify, and preparing to share my deep affection for today's featured title. That's right. I'm not even going to make you guess. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and to prove it to you, let's send July out on a high note. Join me as we welcome today's Pump Up Your Book Blog Tour star and featured book of choice...
About the book...
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. 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.
This was the author's first novel?
Well, blow me down!
Though the page count isn't extraordinarily high (and smaller from ARC to finished product...curious what changed and yet I wouldn't want to lose a word of what transpired), this isn't the sort of book you can fly through. It requires, nay demands to be absorbed word for word, page by page. You must take it in slowly, digest the information presented, seek the silver lining for some less than sunny circumstances, and feel your way through the emotional avalanche that falls at your feet. You'll laugh, you'll cry. You'll cringe at the treatment of others from outright ignorance, or in the name of "tradition". Speaking of which, such atrocities committed all under the veil of that word! Most of them couldn't even separate their "heritage" from what's right for the sake of their own families. (I'd like to tradition Mukta's grandmother right into the next century!) Mukta's Amma though, was a kind yet strong soul. Determined to find a better way for her daughter to escape their world, yet despite that strength and determination, the world would not hear her cry...at least, not immediately or in the way you might expect.
The story itself is told in both past and present times until the lives of our leading ladies overlap. Does it all lead up to a happy ending? That depends on how you look at things, but along the way we stumble, fall, and become acquainted with both characters to remember and those we'd like to forget. In the former category, Aai, Tara's father, Sanjiv, and Amma; in the latter, Madam, Sakubai, and Salim...to name a few. Sad to say the latter would have a larger calling card, but no one said this story was a bed of roses....but it does have a lining that would rival the brightest night sky and is told in such a way that it latches on to your heart.
It is asked in the reader's guide section if you had to choose, whom would be your favorite character...Tara or Mukta. My knee jerk reaction was and still is to shout Mukta from the highest mountains. The hope she carried within for herself and others that came along, despite all that she went through was beyond humbling. I mean, most of us couldn't even begin to imagine having that kind of strength in the face of adversity and yet here she is. Growing up without a father, surviving the passing of her Amma in the worst of circumstances, finding a place to call home only to have it ripped violently away again....I just, I mean it's beyond me how she held her memories so fondly, grasping them firmly in her hands to pull her through another day. But, they do say hind sight is 20/20 for a reason...
I've had some time to ruminate on the story between the final page and today and also discovered that Tara was in fact in my favor as well. For so many years, she lived a lie either created by her or for her. She carried the guilt of her actions with her every step of each day and though she had found a way to age with it, the sudden death of her Father and the revelations that came with it, tore that wound open anew. The fact that she created this situation in some way was beside the point. The vigor in which she sought to rectify things with just the slightest breath of hope still alive...that's what spoke volumes. The fact that when things came down to it, she let her heart guide her, not scientific findings or the like (you'll understand that part when you read it). That's what truly won me over with Tara.
So dear readers, you ask me if I recommend this book to you. The short answer is a resounding YES. The long answer...is all the words I've put before your eyes prior to this sentence. It's all the cliched words of heartwarming, moving, and the like, but it's also so very much more. Long after you turn the final page, you'll remember the friendship and sisterhood that these two souls shared. Though their lives walked different paths, the inevitability of them finding each other again was there in the shadows the whole time. You just had to look to the stars for guidance.
Recommended for adult readers due to some content. I for one will be waiting to see what we can expect next from this new talent, with a spot reserved on my wish list especially for it.
About the author...
Amita Trasi 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. The Color of Our Sky is her first novel.
Special thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book for the ARC for review and the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, the tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now via Bloomhill Books, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!