After coming across this book on Netgalley I was really intrigued by the synopsis. The past few years (when I’ve managed to read a book or two) I’ve been strictly reading fantasy so in a hopes to explore other genres I requested this book.
I received a free copy of this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I always like to start my reviews by telling you my overall opinion of the book, I feel like sometimes I can ramble and it gets difficult to discern whether I actually enjoyed the book or not! Here’s my verdict *drum roll*… I really enjoyed it!
Essentially the story follow the lives of these twins after they were separated, and the book is told in alternating chapters from the perspective of twins. I felt like this was extremely useful especially because for the majority of this book both these characters lived in very different places. The author spent enough time developing both characters and the various places they called home throughout this book so (for the most part) I didn’t feel lost or confused. Throughout this book we travel through these characters to Brazil and West Africa, and because of the POV style I was able to compartmentalise these two places and associate Brazil with Husseina and West Africa with Hassana. Whilst reading about these areas the author spared no details in describing the sights, smells and engaging all my senses BUT at a point it did get overwhelming. I sometimes found myself trying to absorb and imagine the her surroundings but also keep up with the thoughts of the character. So at certain points I did feel overwhelmed and to be honest a few too many times I almost zoned out.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where twins were the main characters and so throughout this story you really get to see the role nurture plays in developing our personalities. We see these characters although spending a majority of their time thinking about and looking for each other, slowly drift apart. Slowly becoming comfortable in their independence and accustomed to their new lives, you can see them almost hope that they don’t find each other by the end.
Husseina always grew up in her twin sisters’ shadow, she was always the quieter, shy twin so when she embarks on her own journey she slowly finds herself by embracing Candomblé. I had never heard of this religion or knew anything about its roots but the author did an amazing job of striking a balance between info-dumping content at the reader and giving them enough background so that they can follow the story!
The book also explored the effects of British colonisation at that time and how the African community in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil after the official end of slavery in 1888, were slowly establishing and preserving their culture through mosques, through Candomblé temples (terreiro’s) and the constant persecution followers of Candomblé faced.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a change of pace, or is looking for a thought-provoking read. If you enjoy reading about journeys of self-discovery, REALISTIC character development, or just a beautiful writing style this is definitely worth checking out!