Review: The Pearl that Broke Its Shell: A Novel

The Pearl that Broke Its Shell: A Novel by Nadia Hashimi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Pearl that Broke Its Shell: A NovelAfghan-American Nadia Hashimi’s literary debut novel is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one’s own fate that combines the cultural flavor and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See.In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

Wow! What an amazing book: heart-breaking but ultimately up lifting. Fiction, but based in reality.

I had never heard of the bacha posh in Afghanistan and was quite surprised to learn about it. The story was well written and the characters in both time lines were engaging and realistic. I loved how their stories wove together.

I feel so privileged to have been born in a secular, western country in the late twentieth century and hope someday all people have the freedom to do and be whatever they want.

You can find out more information about real women who were bacha posh on the author’s website and also at bachaposh.com

Review: Silver Wings

Silver Wings by H.P. Munro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Silver WingsWhen in 1943, twenty-five-year-old Lily Rivera is widowed, she finally feels able to step out of the shadows of an unhappy marriage. Her love of flying leads her to join the Womens Airforce Service Pilots, determined to regain her passion and spread her wings, not suspecting that she would experience more than just flying.Helen Richmond, a Hollywood stunt pilot, has never experienced a love that lifted her as high as the aircraft she flew…until she meets Lily.

Both women join the W.A.S.P. program to serve their country and instead find that they are on a collision course towards each other, but can it last?

This is a great book. I love historical fiction and it is even better when it contains a sweet, lesbian romance.

The author has clearly done her research and it is well written, with likeable characters and believable scenarios. The way the WASPs (Womens Airforce Service Pilots) were treated during the war was quite shameful.

I would definitely read more of Ms. Munro’s work.

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Review: Mistress, Please

Mistress, Please by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mistress, Please Thou shalt have no other Mistresses before me.When traveling abroad to visit clients, professional Domme Trinity Maddox loses her passport and her job. She has no one to ask for help but Graciela Fairbanks, her former lover and Domme who threw her out for cheating ten years ago.

Graciela tries to forgive, but old hurts and arguments arise on both sides. Trinity is grateful for a second chance with the woman who first taught her about love and submission, but she resents Gracie’s assumption they will return to their old roles. Gracie demands obedience; Trinity needs assurances of love.

Can Trinity let go of her pride to accept Graciela’s forgiveness? Or is submission too high of a price to pay for happiness?

This is the sequel to Mistress on Her Knees, a book I was rather ambivalent about. I enjoyed this one more.

The disaster with Mira is now in the past and Graciela and Trinity are attempting to fix their own, broken relationship. If they will manage remains to be seen. Personally I would not forgive unfaithfulness.

As we learn more about the characters I became more sympathetic to them both. Graciela’s motives seem less vengeful, although it is hard to tell, and Trinity seems more willing to accept her submissive side.

Learning about new cultures is always fascinating and Trinity’s introduction to South Korea is entertaining. The introduction of new characters was interesting and I really liked Rachel and Pierre.

The book does end on a cliff-hanger, so no happily ever after yet, but the author is currently serialising the third book, Mistress’s Release on her blog.