Thursday, December 9, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: House of Glass Hearts, by Leila Siddiqui {ends 12/16}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Calcutta, India, 1943

I walked the streets of Calcutta, periodically looking up at the sky. The city was transforming day by day. Before, I could stick my tongue out and taste the salt in the air; now, it was the rusty tang of gunmetal and war. Soldiers streamed into the city, taking over Chowringhee Road, filling up The Grand Hotel, and pouring in and out of the shops. They roared by in jeeps on the way to nightclubs, whooping and throwing money at us pedestrians.

I spotted a group of soldiers on their way to the Maidan, with two brown boys scurrying after them, carrying burlap bags. “Hai!” I shouted and hurried after them.

As I neared the group, I grabbed one of the boys by his shoulder and turned him around. The boy’s bag fell to the ground. He scowled up at me. “What do you want? Can’t you see I’m working?”

“Oi, blackie!”

A tall British soldier strode over to us. He stared at us as his boy hauled up his bag. “And you filthy wog,” the soldier added, turning to me. “You leave our errand boys alone.”

With a sudden crack, the soldier slapped me across the face. I stumbled to the ground, angry tears stinging my eyes.

The soldier towered over me. “Don’t you speak English?”

I glared up at the man. “I do,” I replied in English. “And my wog father is fighting for your country.”

When Maera’s grandfather dies, she finally learns about his life, and how it may have led to the disappearance of her older brother more than a decade earlier.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: House of Glass Hearts, by Leila Siddiqui {ends 12/16}
Maera and her ammi never talk about the Past, a place where they’ve banished their family’s heartache and grief forever. They especially never mention the night Maera’s older brother Asad disappeared from her naana’s house in Karachi ten years ago. But when her grandfather dies and his derelict greenhouse appears in her backyard from thousands of miles away, Maera is forced to confront the horrors of her grandfather’s past. To find out what happened to her brother, she must face the keepers of her family’s secrets—the monsters that live inside her grandfather’s mysterious house of glass.

Seamlessly blending history with myth, HOUSE OF GLASS HEARTS follows a Pakistani-American teen’s ruthless quest to find her missing sibling, even if the truth would reveal her grandfather’s devastating secret and tear her family apart. In a narrative that switches between colonial India and present-day America, this ambitious young adult debut explores how the horrors of the past continue to shape the lives of South Asians around the world.

Maera and her best friend Sara realize that India’s role in WWII was never taught in their US school. Luckily, Jimmy, Maera’s cousin, arrives just in time to read the journal of their recently deceased grandfather, which is in Urdu. The book magically appears under Maera’s pillow, the same night a giant greenhouse apparently transports from the family house in Pakistan to her backyard overnight.

Maera, Sara, Jimmy, and Maera’s next door neighbor Rob begin a search that they hope will lead to finding Asad, Maera’s older brother and Rob’s best friend from childhood, who disappeared more than a decade ago, during a visit to Pakistan.

The magical realism was complicated but interesting. The Indian history as told in the journal from WWII was so descriptive and well-told. The adventures and unique characters within the greenhouse were probably my favorite. I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Indian stories and magical realism.

{click here to purchase - only $7.99 on Kindle currently!}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mother who enjoys delivered pizza best when accompanied by a good book. Check out her holiday wish list and other book reviews at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of House of Glass Hearts!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, December 16th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

House of Glass Hearts, by Leila Siddiqui

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