Reviewed by Kelly Spillane
‘Your mother has been arrested. She stole you.’
For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else.
Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby…
Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her own childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister.
Told through the eyes of Diya, Vani and Aarti, this is a heart-breaking story of friendship and betrayal, love and motherhood, which asks the question; how far would you go to protect your only child?
Imagine if after thirteen years you found out that your whole life has been a lie. For Diya this isn't a dream, this is her reality. When Diya was born she was kidnapped by the woman that she grew up thinking was her mother. Growing up Diya always wondered why her mother would never take a well paying job in a public place and why they had to move everytime Diya was settling in. Then one day the police knock on the door of the one bedroom flat Diya shares with Vani and arrests Vani for kidnapping Diya when she was born. Now Diya finds herself in foster care, with Vani in danger of being extradited back to India. Aarti is the woman who gave birth to Diya and who has spent the last decade trying to trace down her daughter. Now that she finally knows where her daughter is after all those years, her dreams are shattered once again when Aarti finds out that it won’t be as easy to be a happy family as she thought it would be.
This book is told from three point of views, The first we see is Diya, she tells about her life and how happy she is to have a great friend in Lily and how much she loves her mother. When she finds out the truth, Diya shows us how she is coping with the situation and what life is like for her in foster care. The second point of view is from Vani, she is writing letters to Diya from her prison cell telling her daughter how much she loves her and her memories from the past. The third is from Aarti, showing how she has looked for her daughter over the years and shows how much she has gone through not having her daughter around. The book is written in five parts and goes back and fourth between the past and the present. The past shows what Vani and Aarti's lives were like when they were children and how they came to be such good friends. The portrayal of the character's childhoods in India is equally beautiful and heartbreaking.
The characters of Vani, Aarti and Diya are all beautifully written and well developed. I absolutely adored each of these characters while reading the book and found myself hoping for a happy outcome for all three of them. When I was first introduced to the character of Aarti, I felt a dislike for her but as the story progressed and so did her character, I started to feel sorry for her and grew to love her as a character. The fact that she had an unhappy childhood allows her to be the character that she is. I instantly liked Vani and Diya, they come with such a good background that I felt I already knew them when I was starting the book.
The book tackles a lot of taboo subjects, from death to kidnap to eating disorders. I think that each of these situations were handled beautifully and sensitively. The story flows from chapter to chapter and the writing is almost lyrical. When I started this book I didn't know if this book was for me, but all of a sudden I found myself glued to this gripping and touching story. I can honestly say that it is like no other book I have ever read and I don’t think I will ever read a book that touched me like this one did. This book had the ability to make me smile and bring a tear to my eye all within one page.
An extremely talented author has written a beautifully touching and heartbreaking book. The characters and their stories will stay with me for a long time. I can't recommend this book enough, it will touch your heart and grip you from the very first page.
I'd like to thank Kim at Bookouture for sending us a copy of The Stolen Girl and Kelly for reviewing it for the blog.