Aug 1, 2012

The Love of Divena by Kay Marshall Strom

India 1990. In the final book of the Blessings of India series, Shridula, old and stooped at fifty-nine, makes her painful way to pay homage to the elephant god Ganesh, lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. “Why are we Hindus instead of Christians?” her seventeen-year-old granddaughter Divena asked.

“Because we are Indian,” said Shridula.

So begins a spiritual journey for Divena as she struggles against an entire culture to proclaim a faith close to her heart while rocking the world of two families.

Title: The Love of Divena
SubTitle: Blessings in India #3
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Pub Date: September 01, 2012
ISBN: 9781426709104

The Blessings in India series by Kay Marshall Strom includes the following three books: The Faith of Ashish, The Hope of Shridula, and now The Love of Divena. Each novel is separated by about fifty years in time, and follows the same family over several generations, beginning with Ashish.

The Love of Divena is primarily about Divena and her elderly grandmother Shridula. They live together and have virtually nothing in the world except for each other. They scratch out a meager existence by selling vegetables that they struggle to grow in their tiny garden patch.

The wealthy and aggressive landowner has his eye on the lovely Divena with less than honorable intent. He goes out of his way to trick Divena into signing a contract of debt, which would literally be a lifelong commitment with no chance of freedom. The plot thickens when Divena's father, who had abandoned her many years earlier, finds out about the plan. He is willing and eager to sell his daughter to the landowner, and Divena is forced to go into hiding to secure her safety.

The characters are well developed, the reality of their lives is oftentimes harsh, but through it all, the family has a deep faith that sees them through even the most difficult situations.

In each of these three novels, I have been drawn into the lives of the descendants of Ashish. My personal reaction and compassion towards the story of the "Untouchables" has affected me deeply. What shocked me the most is how life didn't improve much for this lower caste of people, even as the decades unfolded.

I totally recommend this entire series, but suggest that you read all three books to get the full impact of a very remarkable and unforgettable story.

Disclosure: Ebook received through Net Galley courtesy of Abingdon Press, in exchange for my honest review.

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