Review by Lisa A.
Overall Rating- 8/10
Summary: Batya is a young Jewish girl fleeing the Russian countryside with her family to escape persecution. They are a hard-working family and are struggling to survive. A very rich man enters their town and takes great interest in Batya and he makes an offer to her father to take her as his wife. The Jewish law doesn’t permit this until girls reach the age of sixteen so it is decided she will wait two years. The man soon returns and takes Batya with urgency and lies to her father telling him she will be sent to his sister’s home until she reaches the age of sixteen. Her father agrees thinking he’s sending his daughter to America for a great opportunity. The young and scared Batya soon finds that she is in a true nightmare and being kidnapped as a prostitute and taken to Argentina to work in a brothel.
Batya is terrified and repulsed by what she must experience and endure but soon befriends the sisters in her house and survives the days by trying to come up with plans to get her family safely out of Russia. She matures and becomes very skilled at getting information and finds people in the village who risk a lot to help her. After many years of danger and perseverance, Batya finds a way to break away from the slave life she has been trapped in a takes huge risks to help her family. This story highlights the horrors of human trafficking that was taking place at the turn of the century in Buenos Aires and how girls who were taken as “slaves” had to struggle to stay alive or even die.
Review: This book was an eye-opener shedding light on a terrible event that took place in history that has been swept under the rug. The author does a great job with the protagonist Batya and you can sense her fear and courage as she goes through this horrible period in her life. Batya never gives up despite all her setbacks and obstacles and continues to believe she can do something to help her family. There are graphic scenes that allow the reader to understand the intensity of what these girls endured but these add to the story and provide authenticity to what was occurring. Batya is a very strong character and the story emphasizes her strength and courage. It’s a great story of perseverance and highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction.