It was an honor to read this powerful story. I laughed and I cried while reading this tender and engaging story, but most of all I thought of my sister and the blessedly uneventful world I grew up in a world without fear, without conflict, without tragedy. Amita Trasi weaves a heart-wrenching tale of hopes and dreams interrupted by duty and destiny. Travel through the front doors of dignity with Tara and the back doors of temple prostitution with Mukta as these two women hold tight to a friendship that even time and trouble cannot destroy. Though Trasi's story is set in India, its implications for human trafficking everywhere are timely and thought-provoking. With wisdom and compassion she leads us into the life of Mukta a young girl desperate to help her mother, longing to know her father, willing to obey her grandmother. Tara, on the other hand, was born to prosperity. A life of education, opportunity, and success awaited her. Until that terrible day. Then America and a chance to begin again. But one cannot erase memories. Memories of Mukta and what might have been. Tara's story is one of promises made and kept. Struggling through the maze of government regulation, she returns to find her friend. As the storyline deepened and I was taken in to each of their lives, both past and present, I was reminded that our strength comes through adversity, perseverance, and fortitude. I simply loved the story and felt honored to step into this other world where I could come to know and love these two women and those they encounter as they live their divergent but interesting lives. Beautifully written, filled with surprises, and packed with emotion, you will be transported to a place deep inside where only love can dwell the common ground we all share, no matter where we are born or what we are expected to become. Love should be in everybody's destiny: Mukta's, Tara's, and ours. --Janet Hitchcock, Editor
From the Back Cover
FROM A TALENTED NEW VOICE COMES A SWEEPING, EMOTIONAL JOURNEY OF TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS IN MUMBAI, INDIA, WHOSE LIVES CONVERGE ONLY TO CHANGE FOREVER ONE FATEFUL NIGHT . . .
India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower-caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle-class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high-spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.
But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend.
Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.
Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately redemption.