Art & CultureArt/Culture/Literature

Book Review-The lies we were promised

Rarely does a story grip me to such an extent I actually miss my train stop on my daily boring commute! Immersive, exciting, and heart-wrenching, Lies We Were Promised is the debut novel from Rachel Ivan. Set amidst the murky world of child trafficking, the author deals with a difficult subject matter with ease and finesse, tackling the almost unthinkable fear of every parent on the planet.

The story is centered around Kerensa Oldfield, a 27 yr old accountant who lives a quiet life in London with her mother and younger brother embarking on a quest to find her estranged father, Kaian. A missing lineage that haunts her recurring dreams she is driven to find him. Long in the planning with meticulous research from a newspaper advert, she embarks on her mission.
Kerensa arrives in Chennai en route to Nagercoil, her father’s native place. The sights and sounds of India enthrall her. Eager to absorb all that is around her we follow her journey with page-turning anticipation. We find Kerensa’s maiden voyage to Nagercoil filled with tribulations from the very first journey onwards. Upon arriving at Amma’s guest house she encounters Vivien the owner and her son Samuel both intriguing characters with intriguing back stories. From here onwards all is not what it seems.

Rachel Ivan, Author

An enigmatic character called Aruna befriends her, and the plot deepens. We are witness to brave Kerensa befriending enthralling characters along her journey who subsequently lead her into the murky world of locally trafficked children. Chance encounters with locals who hold very closely dark secrets grip the reader with force. After a futile trip to Chennai Kernesa finds herself battling the trauma of a short spate in Pulyam Prison. Here we find our protagonist bonding with fellow women, also wrongly imprisoned. The evocative descriptions of the prison transport the reader to another unimaginable situation.

Wrongly accused of a crime she had not committed, Kerensa desperately seeks a way out.The reader can empathize with the earnest quest of Kerensa to search for her father through the author’s eloquent depiction of her thoughts and fears. Rachel uses descriptions so vivid that we can easily feel Kerensa’s plight from the very get-go. Kerensa displays her intuition and emotional warmth to draw the reader in. The author’s characterization is so well-rounded and the prose is beautifully written. In addition, what touched me more was the full description of the sights and sounds of South India, an elixir for the soul at a time where none of us can travel evoking such beautiful memories for me so vividly. She weaves skillfully between scenes and characters seamlessly. Each chapter is from the viewpoint of different characters which hastens the pace of the plot. The interwoven stories are entrancing and carry the reader along a torrent culminating in an explosive crescendo. The story is so multi-layered and intricate, it is compelling reading.

I have loved reading this enthralling story of intrigue and social injustice and can highly recommend reading this.Now I am avidly awaiting a sequel. Enjoy this unputdownable debut novel.

Review by: Nagini Cambampaty

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button