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4.4 out of 5 stars
A Thread Unbroken
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 9, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Two 13 year old girls are abducted off the streets in China. Doesn't sound like it would be a light read, but it is. This book reads like a fairy tale rather than a modern day novel. It takes place in present day China, although that took awhile to figure out because the reader is never immersed in either the culture or landscape. Very few descriptive details emerge. It's a fast read with little depth and believability. It's as if the author doesn't want anything too bad to happen in her little fairy tale. I could have been reading about Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood. The naiveté of the girls was difficult to buy into, even if they were from a small Chinese village. The coincidences in the plot are rather remarkable and not in a good way. Every character was a stick figure. Could have been a better book with a little realism and depth. Nevertheless, would have given it 3 and a 1/2 stars if I could.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When Chinese village girls Chai and Josi ask for permission to go swimming, they have no idea of the ordeal ahead. Derailed on their way by a woman who requests help with her packages and young son, they are lured by her promise to buy them new dresses, and eventually find themselves imprisoned in an empty apartment. This is just the beginning of their nightmare, as they are sold to a couple who plan to have Chai wed their eldest son when she is older. In the meantime, the two are stuck doing housework that their "Mother" is too lazy to do and caring for the two younger sons. None of the people in their new community are willing to help the girls, and they cannot remember how to retrace their steps even if they could find some way to escape. However, the friendship between the two girls, as well as Chai's strong bond with her father, Jun, sustains them as they struggle to survive and eventually be reunited with their families. They find new reservoirs of strength and courage, and even a few friends. But as time passes with seemingly no one coming to rescue them, how long can they hold out?

The author of "A Thread Unbroken" Kay Bratt has also written a memoir of her time as a volunteer working in a Chinese orphanage and has receivd the Pride of the City Award as a result. The book an attempt to publicize the plight of young girls kidnapped and sold into slavery in China. It is a bittersweet story which does not sugarcoat the realities of this issue or how young girls are still undervalued because of their gender, but still offers a relatively happy ending. I found it moving and inspiring. It is definitely a five-star novel.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 22, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
One of the most important aspects about Kay Bratt's book A Thread Unbroken are the major issues surrounding the storyline and the characters in the book Chai and Josi that many may not be aware of that has affected the landscape of the world that has embraced its culture and tradition for thousands of years. However, modern amenities have contributed to the challenges that though fictitious in nature in Bratt's book, Chai and Josi and their family and friends are experiencing and enduring throughout the book.

From books such as A Thread Unbroken or The Snowflower and the Secret Fan, the latter recently made into a movie, provides a window to the rest of the world and helps one understand serious issues that may not have been easily addressed to a general reading public. Bratt has taken the steps to approach the serious conditions that women around world are having to face without a choice - exploitation in the form of forced labor that have occurred in small rural villages in China. The story of Chai and Josi is a gripping tale that shows the clear distinctions between class and society and the limitations that exist between gender lines and roles as well as the imperfections and perfections that differentiate each character. As one reads the passages and the chapters questions may arise and other issues concerning adoption, one-child policy, and other 21st century issues that confront China's past.

But for readers that may be familiar with current events that have affected countries such as China and the hundreds of women's lives. A Thread Unbroken tells a story that one cannot imagine, but it is an example of many stories that is happening as one reads the book. One lesson that may be learned after reading Bratt's novel, that reading can help to educate and teach us about the lives and the places one may not have ever encountered before.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a novel but it is based on the very real horror of human trafficking in China. Two young pre-teen girls are kidnapped, mistreated and brought to a distant province where they are forced to work as unpaid domestics for a family of fishermen. Their captors are themselves poor but the family of all boys is large and they need to find wives for their sons

The story feels very real and I found myself immediately sympathizing with the girls' plight even though I had a feeling that they would be rescued in the end by one of the girls' father who refused to give up his search.

This book is a fast read and I just couldn't put it down although it is a little simplistic for my personal taste but I thank the author for shining a light on this very real problem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Chai and Josi are best friends. They complement each other, and together their strength is multiplied. Josi has a crippled foot. Despite her numerous skills, her foot makes her undesirable in China. The two girls trust the wrong woman, and in their wish to be respectful and polite, are kidnapped. Chai is destined to be the bride of son of the family who has bought her. Josi has been brought along to tame Chai, but a few months later, they are separated.

This book is pleasant and easy to read. The plot addresses what has become a prevalent problem, the kidnapping and sale of young women. Specific to this book,Chinese girls are kidnapped to ensure sons of the family have a bride. The the choice of parents for sons has led to a shortage of brides. Like many traditional Chinese families, the family in this book expect the daughter and the daughter in law to be, to serve them.

I found the tone of this book lacking a certain depth of description. It feels like the abridged version of the proble. I don't feel I really know much about the main characters. We know they are unselfish and loyal. But the portrayals are not well fleshed out. Difficult themes lack immediacy. That said, this book shares an important narrative.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 18, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the story of Chai and Josi, best friends, young teenage girls, living in a modern day village in China. One day on their way to an afternoon swim, they are abducted and sold as servants and future brides in a fishing village far from their home. Chai's father looks constantly for his daughter and carries on the search for over a year, while Josi's family is not as interested after a while, I won't tell you why in case you're interested in reading the story.
The subject matter is important, the kidnapping of young girls in China to be sold as brides is a little talked about problem but quite prevalent and real. The orphan situation, the abandonment of undesired children maybe with a birth defect or just because the parents wanted a boy, is also a big problem in China and I'm glad the story brings it to light. Unfortunately, the story telling is cliche', flat, the prose is very simple, and the entire thing is not very well written. I don't know if it was meant for young readers or not, but I didn't find it very captivating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was the third book written by Kay Bratt that I havw read and I could not put it down. I was captivated from the very beginning and read it in two nights. It is a story that needs to be told to educate people about the stolen girls in China and the heartbreak it is for them and their families. It also shows how some families will sell their daughters as child brides if they are not happy that they have a daughter.
Kay writes from her experiences in China and these truths must be told.
Well done Kay. I would recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I confess I picked this as a Vine read because I love stories set in China and am particularly interested in stories about women and their lives in China. Through reading on the subject, I came to know that though women's lives have improved somewhat compared to their ancestors in old China who had to endure primitive practices such as the tradition of foot-binding, there are still a sizable number of women who continue to be victimized in contemporary China. There are unscrupulous people who act as human traffickers, kidnapping young girls and selling them into virtual slavery either in the illicit sex trade or as unwilling 'wives' to men in rural China. Thanks to the one-child policy in China, female infanticide rose over the years to the point where there is an unhealthy ratio between males and females. This is especially so in rural China, where impoverished farmers find it difficult to find themselves wives.

With this backdrop in mind, it is easy to get absorbed in "A Thread Unbroken". Author Kay Bratt writes vividly, and though the work is fiction, readers can appreciate that the author's own experiences advocating for children in China has enabled her to write a convincing piece of fiction based on events which do occur in the China of today.

Two thirteen year old Chinese village girls named Chai and Josi are duped and kidnapped by an unscrupulous woman who keeps them as slaves, forcing them to work as unpaid domestic helps, with more horrors awaiting them. Are the girls depicted credibly? I would say yes. I have been to parts of South-east Asia and South Asia where young girls in the villages reflect very childlike thinking even for teenagers. Many of them are trusting and innocent in the ways of the world, which makes it easy for human traffickers to prey on them.

This story makes for a quick-paced read though I would have liked to see a more in-depth character study of the two girls. On the whole though, this makes for a compelling read about a subject that is very relevant today and even though it is not explored as deeply as I would have liked, I felt it was a credible, well-written story inspired by issues and events that continue to be a problem in contemporary China.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 13, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A Thread Unbroken.This book deals with a difficult issue, that of child trafficking, not in the USA, ( although this happens here as well ) but in China. Girls, especially in the country side, still do not have much value in most families and are often sold for either house help or if the girl is very pretty, for " brides " to strangers. Many end up in brothels with no way out to freedom. This novel deals with some aspects of this very serious issue but also covers the strong family ties of Chai,( one of the girls sold), has with her family. Her friend Josi is not so fortunate with her family and the reader will find out later in the book what a sad situation Josi finds herself in, were it not for the friendship of Chai, who helps her through years of adversity. Chai's father never gives up looking for his daughter but Josi's father could care less. I think that perhaps the author could have described the realities of that kind of life with more detail, because as the story stands, it is hard to believe that the two girls managed as well as they did, which is why I gave it four stars instead of five.

That said, I admire the author for writing about this issue, because as I understand, according to several articles written in 2011, the Chinese government has claimed to work on the issue of child trafficking, but apparently there is not much cooperation at the local levels. Several families in my extended friend/family circle, have adopted children from orphanages in China, where so many end up, when they no longer are of any use..... It is a heart breaking situation, because so many of the poor people in the countryside have a difficult time making ends meet and then to have their children stolen is very, very sad. The author brings out that heartache when she describes what Chai's father goes through trying to find his daughter. If you enjoyed " Snow Flower " or " The Secret Fan", you will enjoy this story as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Since having read Silent Tears, I was excited and honored to get the opportunity to read this fictional novel. The story depicts two female friends who are kidnapped and sold to strangers far from their home. The book is wonderfully written and a quick read. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

However, having appreciated the honest, raw tone of her memoir I was somewhat disappointed with the softer touch used with this novel. The author has the ability to write incredibly moving pieces about real issues and I found myself wishing that the author would have somehow incorporated more information about the realities of child trafficking. I feel that perhaps the issue of child trafficking (which is a serious and real issue for people in China as well as all over the world) wasn't as powerfully conveyed as I feel she has the potential for.

Although it is a fictional tale, the underlying issue is very much a real problem and could have been addressed more directly. I am hopeful that the author will continue to share about her time in China, the people she has met and the stories that have been shared with her. I feel that A Thread Unbroken can help raise awareness of child trafficking and hopefully inspire us to help make a difference.
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