Tag Archives: India

Book Review: Beyond Molasses Creek – by Nicole Seitz

Book: Beyond Molasses Creek
Author: Nicole Seitz
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: January 31, 2012
Genre: general fiction
Pages: 312; paperback
Price: $15.99
My Rating: an intriguing story that draws the reader in
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

The dedication in this book reads: To those who long to be free.

This story is told from the individual voices of its three most prominent characters, Ally, Vesey, and Sunila.  It begins when Ally and Vesey are children – when white children are not to be friends with black children – so theirs is a secret friendship until they are found out and Vesey pays the penalty in a volatile climate of racism. Later, Ally travelled the world over when her heart’s desire could not be attained, and now at sixty years of age she comes home to South Carolina because her father died.

The tragedies and disappointments that affected Ally’s life led to her searching for peace from “the gods”, even though she was brought up to know the true God of peace. Vesey, who lives across the river – Molasses Creek – suffered poverty and racism, but he knows Jesus Christ as his source of peace. Then there is Sunila, twenty years younger but also searching for freedom and peace in her life of hard labour in India and the racism of caste in that country. Because of an unfortunate event connected with Ally (which in real life probably would not occur – but this is fiction), her life is not what it should have been.

The author has written an intriguing tale. It took me awhile to get into the story because of how it is broken up – into short chapters that jump from one person to another – but once I caught on to this it was easier to keep track. The story gradually picks up momentum, and layer upon layer the questions that are raised are answered.

One thing that bothered me was the hinting about the Lord but the outright repetitiveness about the idols and gods of man-made religions, with not much of a decision made when it was obvious the Lord answered Ally’s heart’s cries. She thanked God but it did not seem to be much more than saying, oh, He IS real. Perhaps the reader is supposed to understand that through all of Ally’s searching God was waiting for her all along.

Another thing that bothered me – and I’m being careful to not write spoilers into this review – is that Ally told a whopper of a lie near the end of the story, which I felt was very dishonouring to her friend who was an honest man. It just seemed shockingly wrong and could only lead to more pain. It simply made no sense to not tell the truth.

If you are looking for a Christian book, Beyond Molasses Creek is not near the top of my list. But if you are looking for a different kind of fiction, this could satisfy that hunger. I will say that I was moved to tears in a few places, so it definitely was not a total letdown. The reader can get pulled into the story, and I found that once past the halfway point I wanted to skip ahead to find out some things because of what was unfolding a little too slowly for my liking. (I resisted and stayed the course, though.)

Nicole Seitz has written an emotionally charged novel that I actually enjoyed, despite the points I mentioned above. I wouldn’t mind reading more of her books.

You can find Beyond Molasses Creek listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 
 
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Book Review: Secret Daughter – by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Book: Secret Daughter  (A Novel)
Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers
Date: March 9, 2011; paperback April 5, 2012
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Pages: 356, paperback
Price: $13.99; less on Kindle
My rating: An extraordinary read, very convincing, with an ending that is both satisfying and disturbing.
 
 

I won this book, probably on Twitter, and promptly added it to my huge TBR (to be read) pile.  Had I known what I was in for I would not have waited so long to read Secret Daughter. Oh my!

Canadian first-time author Shilpi Somaya Gowda has written a compelling story that had me from the beginning. Born in Toronto, Canada, to parents from Bombay, India, she had insight and good understanding of both cultures. She mostly told the story from the perspective of three women – the adopted daughter, the adoptive mother and the birth mother. It was involved and interesting and hard to put down once I started reading.

I don’t want to give away too much and spoil it for you, but for anyone who has adopted from another country, or is thinking about it, this book gives a different view of some of the things to take into consideration.

The characters are well-developed, their life situations are convincing and detailed, and the reader gets to share in the story of their lives over a span of twenty-five years. It was easy to care about them. In fact, I experienced a range of emotions as I read this international bestseller.

I liked how the author headed her chapters with not only the title, but also the location, date, and name of the person the reader was visiting in that chapter. Each chapter is only a few pages long which made it easy to read when having only a few minutes. It also helped the reader get oriented right from the start and occasionally helped the author step over a span of several years to move along in the story. It was well done.

The only thing I did not like is the way the author chose to end this novel, although it is quite believable the way it happened. Obviously the ending did not interfere with the book’s success. Even so, if you are one who likes to read the end of a book first … in this case DON’T!  Please, do yourself the favour of not peeking. It is well worth the wait.

There has been criticism that the author ignored or changed some things about the culture of India to fit her story, but I don’t agree. In a couple of places I had questions, too, but since I have never studied their culture nor have I visited that country, I accepted that perhaps it was something that is changing there with the times. I believed the author would know that, so I didn’t let my lack of information get in the way of a great read.

Originally, this is not a book I planned to review, but having experienced it I wanted to introduce it to you to add to your TBR list. You won’t be disappointed.

You can find Secret Daughter listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂