"I feel empty, as though I'm leaving behind a piece of myself." As the daughter of the town scavenger, Mari grew up knowing hardship, but she could have never anticipated the struggles facing her as an adult. Feeling alone and isolated, she dreams of a better life. On the other side of town, a little girl is forced to live on the streets, but silently she longs for the one thing she's never known - a family. Max, a struggling American photojournalist, arrives in China with only one goal in mind: to face his demons and put an end to his own unbearable suffering. In RED SKIES, the fate of three people who've never met will converge in profound and unexpected ways.
From the bestselling author of 'A Thread Unbroken' comes a fresh glimpse into the life of Benfu's remarkable family. Be swept up in this emotional yet hope filled story of RED SKIES, set in the world of Kay Bratt's 'Tales of The Scavenger's Daughters'.
RED SKIES is a companion novel to the series and can be enjoyed first, last, or in between the other books. It can stand alone or be read as part of the series. So dig in at any time!
Not surprisingly, another beautifully written story by Kay Bratt. She never lets me down and when I pick up one of her novels, I know I'm in for the read of my life!
RED SKIES opens with, Marigold, otherwise known as, Mari, watching a young girl desparately panhandling for money. Mari felt so bad for the girl that she considered giving her the few yuan she had in her pocket and telling her husband, Bolin, that business was slow that day. However, she knew he wouldn't believe her so she kept the money.
Mari remembered her days of begging and panhandling from long ago before she was rescued and taken in by her father, Benfu. Just as she was thinking over those years, two teenage boys came along and stole the only coins the panhandling girl had in her cup. Mari was furious as she knew the girl would somehow have to make that money back or the girl would be badly beaten b her boss. Mari crossed the street and put a five-yuan bil in her cup. The girl was grateful but frightened. She wouldn't tell, Mari which gang she was associated with out of fear but did she her name was, An Ni which would mean, Annie in English.
Mari's job was to take photo's of tourists with her camel, Chu Chu at The Great Wall. Since her husband had hurt his back and was laid up at home spaced out on pain killers, the full responsibility of the job fell to, Mari alone.
One day as she trying to get a very stubborn, Chu Chu up the hill and back into his shed for the night, she was approached by two American tourists who begged her to return to the Wall so the boss could get a photo of himself on the camel to take back home to his daughter. Mari was dead tired but the one tourists, Max, said they would pay her well and it would make his boss very happy. Mari finally relented and they returned to the Great Wall. When they were done, Max stayed behind to help, Mari with Chu Chu and carried her camera and other equipment.
A few days later, Max returned by himself to thank, Mari for staying late the other day. He invited her out for a cup of tea but, Mari knew if Bolin found out he'd be absolutely livid. She thought about Max's offer and the lack of communication and intimacy between herself and Bolin and how lonely she'd been feeling lately. Plus, Max had just saved her about ninety minutes by helping her again put Chu Chu away so she decided go with him.
Over tea, Mari found out, Max was a photojournalist and that his daughter had taught him how to speak Mandarin. Suddenly during the conversation, Max became extremely quiet, asked Mari where the bathrooms were, and quickly left the table. She wondered what had made him turn so quiet all of a sudden.
Max needed to produce a piece of work to submit to his boss but he had writer's block. He knew if he didn't produce something soon he'd be officially washed up - "emotionally and professionally". The only thing that made, Max happy was the fact that, Mari had agreed to be his tour guide around Beijing and he would pay her wages for doing so. They met in the mornings at the tea shop.
Now we have the three main characters: Mari, Max, and An Ni. Believe me, as the story progresses their paths will cross in a way that is so totally unexpected. Mari must deal with some very deep-seated hardships, but all three are searching for something that means a lot to them, and you will not be able to stop yourself from reading once you get started.
RED SKIES evoked so many emotions in me that I laughed, I snickered, and I cried like a baby. There were parts of the story where I wish I could have hopped into the pages of the book. The characters and environment are so real that you forget you're reading fiction. The writing if flawless and so well done that I felt a part of the story, like I was in the book and following along behind them all and could see the sights, hear the sounds, and smell the odours.
RED SKIES is high on my recommendation list and I'll be touting it's virtues to all who'll listen.
I would like to thank Kay Bratt for sending me a .pdf file of the book to read in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Kay! As usual you had me hooked from the first word to the last. Well done!!