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Bitter Winds (2014)

by Kay Bratt(Favorite Author)
4.16 of 5 Votes: 3
Lake Union Publishing
Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters
review 1: Bitter Winds: Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, Book 3Book Synopsis: Li Jin, given the name Dahlia by Benfu and Calli at her birth, tattooed with a beautiful little dahlia flower on her heel as a baby, was just a month old when she was kidnapped by Benfu's mother and sent away into obscurity. Thirty years later, Benfu and Calli's adopted daughter, Linea, conducted a time-consuming search to find that stolen daughter. Tirelessly, Linea expended her love and effort in the hope of finding Dahlia, so as to grant some measure of peace and happiness to the two people who had showered so much love on her and so many other orphaned and abandoned girls. Finally finding Li Jin, the reunion was bitter sweet. Li Jin had to work to get beyond her own bitter feelings for the... more people she believed had abandoned her at a young age. In the face sheet to the Prologue, Kay Bratt includes a saying by Lao Tzu: "A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for the whole day." We can assume that these "Bitter Winds," that are coming to the family in this book will at some point abate. But it is how the family deals with the winds that shows the character of those assaulted by them. The publishers reveal that Li Jin opens a shelter for homeless or displaced people. She wants to change her past life from one of abuse, discouragement, and hopelessness to embrace the new-to-her concepts of family, acceptance of love, and fulfillment. Li Jin's beautiful new relationship with Sami is to be tested and tried when Sami does not embrace this new life, but is consumed with bitterness and a desire to obtain revenge on those who have hurt her. Things become even more strained after Sami gives birth to her baby--a little girl. Complications get even more strained when blind Lily is detained and put in a kind of jail. Her sister became her guardian after a terrifying night when Lily was almost burned to death in a fire in their home; now, Ivy is fraught with anxiety, guilt, and anxiety for her sister. She is determined to do whatever it takes to get her out--even if it means jeopardizing her own freedom or her own life.WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE BOOK: BITTER WINDS: Bitter Winds reminds me in so many ways of the story by O. Henry, The Gift of the Magi (see my review of this book by following this link.). It all started in Tales of The Scavenger's Daughters, when Benfu gave Lily his priceless violin. All the girls saw the example he set in his gift of love. Now, in Bitter Winds, Ivy, and other characters will make their own gifts of love, just as Benfu, just as in The Gift of the Magi. I won't tell you what they are, as it would spoil the beauty and suspense Kay Bratt has worked so hard to give to us as readers of this beautiful book. Second, as I mentioned, above, the continuity flows throughout the book and the trilogy. First , in Book One, we saw Benfu and his daughters--Linea, notably--take center stage. Then in Book Two we saw Linea bring Li Jin (Dahlia) into the family when she searches and finds Benfu and Calli's baby girl, Dahlia. Now in Book Three we see Li Jin establish a home for the destitute children and elder homeless; this home becomes pivotal in the redemption attempt to get "Lily" out of detention. And, of course, Lily and Ivy have been woven into the story throughout all three books, as have other supporting characters like Jet and Sky. Third, I was very much drawn to the family relationships in this book (actually, all three books). I loved to see the troubled mothers especially (Benfu's and later, Lily's and Ivy's mother--By the way, what did you think about the "vision" or the "meeting" Ivy has with her mother while she is in the institution?). The stressful relationships with the fathers (Benfu and his father, Jet and his father, and, of course Sky has his own troubles with his family, as well). We also see Sami's dysfunctional family, with a mother who is cold, controlled and bitter who does not protect her; we see her father sell her to the highest bidder for sex at a party, damaging Sami irretrievably. We see the damage done to Jojo by Erik in his parental role (the story about the yoyo was heartwrenching!). And, finally we see Sami's damaged relationship with her newborn daughter. We also get to see the hope of a new, healthy family beginning with Li Jin, Sky and Jojo. Fourth, Benfu makes much of the damage that China is doing to families, basically destroying families. He sees it first hand when his own family is destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Then, throughout the books we see injustice piled upon injustice in the laws China wields against its poor, homeless, destitute, orphaned, and powerless. We also are given snapshots of corrupt, callous, and unfeeling government officials. Finally, even though Kay Bratt includes these characters in the story, these unjust laws, and these corrupt persons, never does she over write. I mean that she never sounds as if she is standing on a soap box preaching at us and beating her chest. She, instead, makes the pain feel personal; she shows us what it is like instead of openly condemning people or institutions--in other words, she lets us make our own decisions about injustice and unfairness. We are the judges.MY RECOMMENDATIONS AND RATING FOR THIS BOOK: This book is a sensitive portrayal of a family and in many ways society, set in Post Cultural Revolutionary China. The material contained within is, in many ways, for adult reading. We have themes of physical abuse of women and children, rape, prostitution, bribery, thievery, and suffering both internal and physically. Even so, this book is a wonderful picture of a family of love, devotion, and faithfulness. We see the best in Benfu and Calli's love and lifelong devotion to orphan and abandoned girl children. So, while it is not a book I would give to an immature or sensitive person, it is wonderful for adults--obviously, the intended audience. Because of all the things I said, above, I give this book a 4.5 star rating out of 5. So, I round up to accommodate the star system on goodreads. Congratulations to Kay Bratt for writing such a beautiful book. Kay Bratt continues her work as an advocate for children, "to be the voice for children who cannot speak for themselves." You can visit her facebook page for more information about her work. Kay Bratt tweeted me this wonderful message about my book review today(04-08-14). I have already sent my appreciation and thanks to Ms. Brattfor her thoughtfulness. Thank you for joining me this week as we have looked at a trilogy of books by Kay Bratt: The Tales of The Scavenger's Daughters. Please join me next week when we will open the pages of a new book. Until then, I hope you pick up a book and read it...if you enjoy it, let me know what you think about it. I'm very eclectic in my taste in books and would love to hear from you about what you like. Be kind to one another, especially your family members. And, as Li Jin says, don't let someone else steal your joy (p.300). Until next time...many happy pages of reading!"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,our whole life would change."--Buddha [18]All my love, Sharon.
review 2: Set in modern day China, Lily a blind daughter is arrested for begging...the story is her family trying to get her out. A book of stories within a story all centered around family with themes that we've all dealt with day to day. Some were very sad, but they all made your think. I will probably pick up the other two books in this series. Very lovely and an interesting read. Thank you for the free reading copy. less
Reviews (see all)
Hoping to see more books in this saga.
Another great read in This series
Loved this one too.
Very good
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