By: Roberta Gately
Published: November 6, 2012
THE BRACELET begins with Abby, a UN aid worker witnessing what she believes to be a murder on her last night of training in Geneva. As Abby arrives in Pakistan to begin her UN work at the vaccination clinic, she finds that she can’t get the woman who dies or the bracelet she was wearing out of her mind or her dreams. Abby ends up taking the UN job after two upheavals in her life. First, her job at a hospital in New Orleans is gone when Hurricane Katrina destroys the hospital. Then she starts a new life in Boston and when the man she expects to marry dumps her in an email, she believes the best thing for her is to focus on those with bigger problems than hers. She has no idea how big the problems she will face in Pakistan will be. Once there, Abby tries to focus on her work at the clinic, but after learning about the horrors of human trafficking and meeting with the victims, she begins to wonder if the woman who died in Geneva was one of the many unnamed victims.
With the murder of the young woman happening at the beginning of the book, you are instantly drawn in to the story. I was intrigued by the setting, the characters, and their individual stories. Once Abby arrives in Pakistan, the fast pace of the story kept me turning the pages all the way to the end.
The characters were well developed and I was able to create pictures of them in my mind,especially Nick the NY Times journalist, Najeela, the local UN worker, Hana, the housekeeper and Imtiaz, the sleezy uncle of Najeela. Each of the characters were essential to the story and the author doesn’t bog the story down with unnecessary details or people to make it confusing.
Unfortunately, this story tells the horrors of human trafficking and the cases can be tough to read. But, the author takes care to share their realities with dignity and empathy. It is clear the author knows the ins and outs of this world-wide problem. I have to admit that I was pretty ignorant to the extent of human trafficking. Living in the privileged world makes these issues and the people suffering, invisible to us. You will want to learn more about this horrific crime after reading this novel.
Even though I figured out the connection between the murder in Geneva, Abby, and Pakistan, it didn’t hasten my journey through the story and the chase to find the bad guys. I was intent on seeing them all brought to justice. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are millions suffering unimaginable horrors for years and it is likely that while I was reading this book, another child or woman was sold to a man that will continue the horror. Like the book said, the women who are in these situations believe there are not enough tears in her eyes or prayers to save her. I would like to believe that, through this book and the telling of their stories, we can begin to save them.
photo courtesy of Miller Studios
Roberta Gately has served as a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in war zones ranging from Afghanistan to Africa, about which she wrote a series of articles for the BBC World News Online. She is also the author of LIPSTICK IN AFGHANISTAN. For more on Roberta Gately, visit her website, http://robertagately.com/ “Like” her on Facebook, HERE, and follow her on Twitter, HERE.