The Bracelet by Roberta Gately – Book Review

About the Book:

By Roberta Gately
Published by Gallery Books
Paperback: 336 pages
November 6, 2012; $15.00 US/ $17.00 CAN; 9781451669121


Newly heartbroken and searching for purpose in her life, Abby Monroe is determined to make her mark as a UN worker in one of the world’s most unstable cities: Peshawar, Pakistan. But after witnessing the brutal murder of a woman thrown from a building, she is haunted by the memory of an intricate and sparkling braceletthat adorned the victim’s wrist.
At a local women’s shelter, Abby meets former sex slaves who have miraculously escaped their captors. As she gains the girls’ trust and documents their horrifying accounts of unspeakable pain and betrayal, she joins forces with a dashing New York Times reporter who believes he can incriminate the shadowy leader of the vicious human trafficking ring. Inspired by the women’s remarkable bravery — and the mysterious reappearance of the bracelet — the duo traces evidence that spreads from remote villages of South Asia to the most powerful corners of the West, risking their lives to offer a voice to the countless innocents in bondage.


About the Author:

Roberta Gately, author of The Bracelethas served as a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in war zones ranging from Afghanistan to Africa, about which she wrote a series of articles for the BBC World News Online. She is also the author of the novel Lipstick in Afghanistan.
For more information please visit http://robertagately.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter


My Opinion:

The cover of this book is so far removed from the topic it truly causes confusion. Every time I saw it I expected the book to be historical fiction. Additionally the woman depicted wearing the bracelet is of the wrong ethnicity.  This has been pointed out quite a few times by other reviewers but I feel it’s important; people often pick a book up due to its cover art and for a cover to be so disparate from its story does it a disservice. 

Abby is a nurse who makes a habit of running away from life’s difficulties. Her current difficulty has her running into a UN vaccination program in Pakistan to escape the loss of her job and the defection of her boyfriend. There she meets a brash Pulitzer Prize winner journalist ostensibly there to write a piece on the American aide worker – her. Nick rubs her the wrong way from the start and she doesn’t trust him. He also has ulterior motives for being in the country – he is investigating human trafficking. A devastating world wide problem that Abby was totally ignorant of.

Prior to Abby’s arrival in Peshawar she witnessed the fall of woman from a building in Geneva. Was it a murder? The only thing she knows for sure is that the woman was wearing a stunning gemstone bracelet. Abby remembers the bracelet in her nightmares (btw – she describes the bracelet in these passages referring to rubies, sapphires, diamonds and one large garnet. The photo on the cover shows a stunning cuff bracelet but from what I can see there isn’t a sapphire to be seen. Rubies, diamonds and emeralds, yes – but no sapphires, nor a large garnet. Just sayin’.)
These nightmares plague her but no one believes her.

In Pakistan she meets her co-worker at the UN offices, Najeela. She is a very self centered woman who is only concerned with shopping, her fiance about whom her parents do not know and wouldn’t approve and treating the less fortunate like dirt. She also meets the housekeeper Hana who ignores Abby.

This could have been a powerful book. It delves into one of the most haunting and urgent topics in today’s world. And a topic that is largely ignored on a global level. According to the statistics in the book global trafficking is a 3 billion dollar a year business which is probably why it continues. Money talks as we all know. But this book places it in the midst of a middling romance story, the bracelet being a facile prop to tie it all up in a nice big bow. None of the characters are well developed; Abby takes a job in PAKISTAN and has NO IDEA of the conditions in the country?! Seriously?! Could she really be THAT stupid? Anyone who just watches a half hour of nightly news would know the conditions in the country.

The passages that detail the travails of the women – children really – who were trafficked are horrifying and not easy to read. It was the only part of the book with any depth at all. And even there Ms. Gately in attempts to lighten the story diminished her storytellers. It was a shame and unnecessary. Once the stories were told the book went back to being all superficial. I just wanted so much more from it.

Rating:
3

You can purchase The Bracelet on Amazon.com

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of The Bracelet from FSB Associates for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.

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