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The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Kay Bratt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (936 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Having survived torture and imprisonment during China’s Cultural Revolution, Benfu escaped to find love with his compassionate and beautiful Calla Lily. Together they build a fulfilling life around the most menial of jobs—Benfu’s work collecting trash. As he sorts through the discards of others, he regularly discovers abandoned children. With unwavering determination, he and Calli spend decades creating a family of hand-picked daughters that help heal the sorrow and brighten their modest home. But all is not perfect and when crisis threatens to separate their family, Benfu—or possibly his band of headstrong daughters—must find a way to overcome the biggest hardship yet.

Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger’s Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds.

Books In This Series (4 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews


    The Scavenger’s Daughters is the kind of novel I’d love to write, but never could. Simply told but beautifully rendered, the reader is swiftly transported into the hearts and lives of a Chinese family after the Cultural Revolution. Powerful and poignant, this story captures the heart of humanity. This is the kind of book that will get shared by friends and chosen by book clubs. A phenomenal story of life and love.” —Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of The Long Way Home

    About the Author

    Kay Bratt is a child advocate and author of the books Train to Nowhere, Chasing China, The Bridge, A Thread Unbroken, and the acclaimed memoir of the years she spent working in Chinese orphanages, Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage. She has actively volunteered for several nonprofit organizations, including An Orphan’s Wish (AOW) and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. In China, she was honored with the Pride of the City award for humanitarian work. After living in China for several years, Bratt now resides in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 2178 KB
    • Print Length: 241 pages
    • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 13, 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00B5KQNZU
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,851 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Thought-Evoking May 28, 2013
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    This is a story full of morals and lessons, each one will touch a spot on your heart.

    It begins with a boy...imprisoned, beaten, harmed, all because of his family background. All it takes is one act of kindness to change this boy's life and that of dozens of people. For when someone shows him this act of kindness, he vows he spend the rest of his life doing good for others.

    The boy becomes a man, a trash collector. In China, daughters are discarded and abandoned a lot. He finds them in the trash and he keeps them, feeds them, clothes them, provides them as love as he can. With all these daughters, he's relegated to a life of poverty. They don't live like other people, but they have love. They have each other.

    But what will happen to them all when he dies? He's very ill; he has no retirement, no savings; nobody is helping them.

    The lessons that sum up beautifully in the pages...

    -You can't judge a group as a whole by the actions of one or a few. There are bad and good in every bunch.
    -Never let pride prevent from you getting help if it's needed and available. Don't deny those around you a better life because you can't bear to admit you need help.
    -Karma happens. One good deed can change a well as your own.
    -One doesn't need material objects to have a fulfilling life.

    Very well done and thought evoking. I truly felt as though I stepped in another world. Chinese customs and stories and revelations about Mao's reign and just how the Chinese live in general kept me absolutely entranced. My only quibble: I wish the book had told us more about the romance between Ye Ye and Nai Nai, but this is the first in a series. I imagine there may be a prequel in the future--at least I hope so.
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    60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
    By Geoff33
    Format:Kindle Edition
    The Scavenger's Daughter is a modern-day novel that brings to our attention the dilemma of orphaned children in China through the story of Benfu, the trash collector, and the family of girls he and his wife, Calla Lilly, have raised. All of their girls were found abandoned on the streets, sometimes in the piles of trash Benfu sorts through. Over the years, adopted daughters have grown up and left home, making room for new girls who in their turn, grow up and leave.

    When we first meet Benfu, he is a seventeen-year old during the height of the Cultural Revolution, beaten and imprisoned for his family background. He escapes to the city of Wuxi, where he is befriended by Calla Lilly and her parents.
    But decades later, Benfu and Calla Lilly are old and tired, barely earning enough to feed their current family of six girls. They receive minimal assistance from the City Welfare Office; if not for the wages their eldest daughter Linnea brings to add to their tiny income, the elderly couple would not be able to continue caring for their children. Their biggest worry is becoming too weak and old to finish the job of raising the youngest girls, one of whom is blind, another a parapalegic.

    Knowing this, Linnea looks for ways to take over as the family breadwinner and goes into a business partnership and a hesitant romance with a young man who is the son of a government official; in doing so she goes against her beloved father's wishes. A casualty of the Cultural Revolution, Benfu mistrusts the government absolutely and he is convinced no good will come of this association.

    The Scavenger's Daughters is inspired by a true story. Author Kay Bratt spent five years in China, where she became actively involved with an orphanage.
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    25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this one June 20, 2013
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    It's hard to describe what this book is about because it is so deep. It really struck a chord with me about how someone can take a horrific past and create an amazing future.

    You will love the characters if you like complex people.
    You will love this book if you like books that make you re-evaluate how you view the world.
    If you want a book that doesn't shy away from intense emotional interactions, get this book now.

    I will look for the next in the series.
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    19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Glad this one is a trilogy August 13, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition
    ...because I can't wait to read the next book!

    Author Kay Bratt lived in China for 5 years, and you can tell she brought a huge piece of China home in her heart. Her talented writing drips with local color. Being recently home from China myself, it's easy to imagine myself back there, as I get caught up in the story. You can feel her understanding of Chinese culture in phrases like, " China, the mother usually had the last word--or more accurately whispered it in her husband's ear and let him speak it."

    The story starts with a glimpse into a young man's suffering during the Cultural Revolution, and then cuts to modern day, with a suspenseful secret that happened sometime between. The main characters are endearing, and I found myself rooting for them to overcome the challenges they face.

    In our society, where people seem driven to acquire more and better stuff at all costs, this book was a beautiful picture of what truly matters: family. One can be happy with very little of the stuff we chase after, if you are surrounded by people who love you.

    ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    1.0 out of 5 stars Not so good
    Could've been a good story, but I had to drag myself through, was it the way written?
    Published 3 days ago by Anna K. Olsen
    5.0 out of 5 stars Definite positive review
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope to read others in this series. Amazing how good a book can be without all the usual violence and sex that have been added onto some really... Read more
    Published 4 days ago by TxNannie
    5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best
    Very good book. Great descriptions, I could easily see it all. Definitely looking forward to reading more.
    Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
    3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
    Easy read seems like a young teen story. Interesting subject but no real depth to characters. Read on plane , wouldn't recommend
    Published 12 days ago by LK
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    A beautiful tale of love from start to finish.
    Published 12 days ago by FALAN A. CORVINO
    3.0 out of 5 stars Slow but a worthy read
    China's history under Mao is the primary reason to read this book. The writing is elementary. You'll be able to skim over pages without missing a lot. Read more
    Published 12 days ago by Seymar
    5.0 out of 5 stars Just Beautiful
    What a beautiful story of life. Everyone has a story to tell, from awful time to treasured ones. Benfu's is incredible and will make you smile and bring you to tears. Read more
    Published 14 days ago by Marci
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Excellent story, I was engrossed.
    Published 14 days ago by Alwynelle S. Ahl
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    dind't read 1st book was enough
    Published 17 days ago by georgia kelly
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story
    Great meaning behind the story. Good characters and moved you to want to know more. Ended quickly but it must be because there's more than one book.
    Published 17 days ago by book reader
    Search Customer Reviews

    More About the Author

    Kay Bratt is a child advocate and author who lived in China for almost five years and fell in love enough with the people to want to write about them forever. If you would like to read more about what started her career as an author, and also meet the children she knew and loved in China, read her poignant and best selling memoir titled Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage.

    From Kay: To be notified when new books are released, please sign up for my monthly email newsletter at or at this link:

    The Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters now has four books! See below for what order to read them:

    The Scavenger's Daughters
    Tangled Vines
    Bitter Winds
    Red Skies

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