Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Valley of Chaya by Tracey Hoffman

I downloaded this book to my Kindle, on the basis of what was said about it on, and I must say, this is the most compelling book I have read recently. I literally could not put it down. There were a few errors, such as commas that had been omitted or used incorrectly, and once “you’re” was used for the word “your”, but these few errors were minimal when I considered the rest of the book.

It was the story of Charlotte Turner, an 18-year-old girl who went to India for a mission trip and two children who lived there, and the human trafficking that must be so prevalent there. The two children, Ashtok, a boy about ten, and Shanti, his sister, about eight, were orphans who were on their own, living on the streets and foraging for food every day and a place to sleep at night. They had some friends, also on the street, so the few of them banded together to try to keep themselves safe.

It was a little unbelievable because Charlotte's friend backed out of the trip and she went to India on her own. She worked with a group that was operating to help the street children, but she was on her own at times, living in a hotel and not with a group that could protect her, and during one of those times she was stolen and taken to live as a prostitute. There she met Shanti, who had also been stolen and was living in the same house of prostitution. A few other characters were introduced, but these were the main characters, along with Charlotte’s brother Eli and Shanti’s brother Ashtok whose main purpose was to find the girls.

The author described in detail some of the things that went on in the place where the women who had been kidnapped were living, and the terrible conditions they had to endure. I don’t know anything about this, but I know that human trafficking is real, so I do not doubt the things she described.

Charlotte’s family were committed Christians from Australia who were devastated when their daughter was taken captive. Her brother, Eli, went to India to try to rescue her. Throughout the book, he is seeking her while subsequent chapters told about her life in the brothel.

In Hindi the word “Chaya” means “shadows”. These women were living in the shadows. Charlotte tried to live in the love of God, even though she was a prisoner. She quoted Scripture and she led some of the women to the Lord, even amid the terrible conditions in which she had to live. Ashtok, the little Indian boy, also believed in God. He had a card with a picture of the Good Shepherd that someone had given him, and he comforted himself and his sister with his incomplete knowledge of God.

I will not tell the ending, but I will tell you that as you read, the pages will turn faster and faster and you will be compelled to go on reading to find out what happens. I strongly recommend this book.


You still have a few days to read and comment on this week's interview with Suspense writer Susan Sleeman. The winner will be selected on Saturday and I will notify the winner by email, so be sure to get in on the drawing if you like this genre of books.

Thanks to all you bloggers. This has really been a large group of commenters and I appreciate your visiting my blog.

Thread of Suspicion is the book that Susan is giving away to the winner.

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