From acclaimed author Aimee Liu comes an extraordinary novel of love and loyalty, intrigue and survival set against the turbulent backdrop of post-World War II India and China. Flash House introduces two singular heroines: a strong-minded American woman and a mesmerizing young Indian girl whose journey together through a mysterious and exotic land will lead them into the heart of danger--and forever transform both their lives
"I, too, was a foreigner, my homeland a world apart " On assignment in India with her journalist husband, Joanna Shaw runs a refuge for girls trafficked into Delhi's red-light district. It is here in the dusty, sunbaked streets of the old city that she discovers the turquoise-eyed Kamla. Joanna vows to rescue Kamla from the brothel--or flash house--where the eleven-year-old child has spent most of her life. But it is Kamla who claims Joanna at first sight, and when Joanna's husband, Aidan, disappears while pursuing a politically explosive story in the mountains of Kashmir, it is Kamla who must come to Joanna's emotional rescue.
Although the authorities insist that Aidan's plane has crashed, Joanna refuses to believe the worst. Aidan is alive, and she resolves to find him at any cost. Accompanied by Kamla and Aidan's best friend, an enigmatic Aussie named Lawrence Malcolm, she embarks on a dangerous trek across the highest passes of the Himalayas.
For Joanna, the trek to find Aidan is a quest for truth. For Lawrence, it is a rescue mission that will lead to Red China--and an agonizing, life-or-death choice that teaches him the meaning of love and betrayal. And for the orphan Kamla, caught between two worlds, it is an odyssey into the tantalizing mystery of her birth.
Weaving the story of all three into the chaos and confusion of Asia's cold war, Aimee Liu gives us a spellbinding, multi-layered tale in which the ultimate safe haven is the elusive place called home.
FROM THE BEGINNING, we were sisters more than mother and daughter. Joanna Shaw rescued me in her way, and I tried to return the favor. I do not say this boastfully, but ironies are the way of the world, and now that I am an old woman I tell you with certainty that those who presume to lift another are most often in need of being raised themselves.
At the same time, those who appear the weaklings of this earth may possess strengths that overrule the mighty--that, indeed, may surpass even their own deepest longings and desires. I have seen this to be the case among women and children of my kind for as long as I can remember. Mrs. Shaw, too, was of my kind, though on the now distant day when I first claimed her I did not know this to be true.
On the contrary, as I watched her making her way down G. B. Road in her stiff yellow dress and broad-brimmed hat with her handsome young Hindu escort I thought this must be some pampered firenghi who possesses no notion of pain. ...
If you liked Flash House, try these:
Against the backdrop of the nearly forgotten history of the partition of India, Jennifer Bradbury, as if with strands of silk, weaves together the heart-pounding tale of three teenagers on wildly different paths, on the verge of changing each other's lives forever.
Heaven Lake is about many things: China, God, passion, friendship, travel, even the reckless smuggling of hashish. But above all, this extraordinary debut is about the mysteries of love.
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