A courageous voyage through destitution, intrigue and murder.
Manasa is abandoned by the man she should marry. He marries her sister instead. Meanwhile Manasa finds herself pregnant with his child. She flees her Bengali village wondering where to go. Eventually, she finds herself wandering the streets of Calcutta. Without money or food, life is a daily struggle. Finally, she is taken on by a brothel. She is desperately unhappy until she meets a different sort of man. This man she marries in secret and together they plan her escape from the brothel.
Murder, corruption, and intrigue threaten to swallow up the new life they attempt to establish in the beautiful hill country of Darjeeling.
Sari Caste by Catherine Kirby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This story is not in my usual genre preference, but the blurb sounded interesting so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, because I loved it!
Manasa is a fantastic character! She is what I would call extremely independent, but lives in a traditional world where forced marriages are still practiced, and girls are seen as lower than dirt. I really liked her! She is feisty and determined.
I started reading this story and was completely captured within the first few sentences! I found myself swept up in a completely different culture. Manasa is a character that everyone can relate to, no matter what religion is practiced or background they come from. I think that religion and dogma have a lot to answer to! Just because I am a woman, I don't think that men are better than me. But there are several religions and traditions that preach that women are lower than men, and are meant to serve them and/or be treated worse than an animal. Granted, tradition has it's uses, but it's not flexible; This story brought that home to me. Manasa has to face some difficult decisions that I would balk at, but she takes them in stride. I admired her bravery in her decisions, but shuddered at what she had to do to survive. I loved meeting all the other characters, who had their own issues to deal with, but there are some really unsavoury characters that made me cringe and want to avoid them at all costs! This story is woven with the intricacy of one of Manasa's sari's. There is lots of different layers to this story, but above all, it's a testament to one woman's determination to give her daughter a family, and a chance for a better life.
Catherine Kirby has written an amazing story that is deeply touching and extremely believable. Her descriptions of the characters and environs brought this book to life. Although not particularly fast paced, the story flowed beautifully and kept me hooked until the last page! I am now looking forward to reading more of this author's work in the future.
Although not overly graphic, there are scenes of violence and abuse that may upset some readers. Therefore, I do not recommend this to younger readers or those of a nervous disposition. However, I do highly recommend this book if you are looking for a completely captivating read! - Lynn Worton
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