I received an ARC of A Daughter’s Courage through NetGalley. I requested this ARC because of the beautiful cover and because the story seemed intriguing.
A disgraced Lucy chooses to marry James and moves to India, where she meets Gowri, a woman tending to the local temple. In the present, Kavya and Sue are coming to terms with their choices and how the past has influenced their life.
This book is #ownvoices.
The idea behind this book is fascinating but I didn’t enjoy the writing at all. We have four different perspectives, and each of the women who tell the story through their perspective don’t mention crucial facts through ommission. It felt like the author was trying to force surprise in the reader, surprise that I wouldn’t have had if the character just stated exactly what was going on, instead of talking around the topic. For example, we never really find out why Lucy was in disgrace until around halfway around the book, even though she keeps mentioning that she is.
I was glad that one of the characters mentioned what it originally meant to be a devadasi and how the position has been distorted through oppression, however, I found that this explanation was too late in the book.
Also, all the important white characters in this book are not racist and are especially kind to the Indian people in the village and those working at their plantation. None of them had any misconceptions or racist opinions. They were all good. This was rather unbelievable. The Indians, however, were nuanced, some of them being awful, and some of them being good, some of them in between.
I found the biggest plot-twist rather unconvincing, namely that (highlight to see the spoiler): one of the twins of a brown Indian mother and a white English father would be white-passing and the other would be brown, even though the text doesn’t mention that the parents are biracial themselves. This is so unlikely, I’m not even sure if it’s possible.
The last few chapters were quite interesting as the puzzle pieces that the reader hadn’t been given, finally fell together.
I didn’t enjoy A Daughter’s Courage that much, as I found the author was keeping too many secrets from the reader and it stopped the flow of the story. It did become an interesting story after around 75 % of the book but if I were the person to DNF a book, I would never have got this far.
Trigger warnings: rape, physical abuse.
Have you read A Daughter’s Courage? Did you enjoy the story?