Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bitter Winds is Available NOW!

By now, you all know that I'm a crazy Kay Bratt fan.
 I love her books. I love her heart for the children of China.
I love being friends with an author. I know, I'm a geek :)
So it's not going to be any surprise to you that I'm happy to share
about her newest release, available as of yesterday,

You can order your own copy HERE!

Bitter Winds is the third in the sequential story line of Benfu and his family. The story this time focuses on the relationship between twins Lily and Ivy. Lily is blind and desperate to prove to her family that she is capable of growing independence befitting her adulthood. This need for independence is most greatly hampered by strong-willed Ivy who, for all intents and purposes, acts as Lily's guide, interpreter, and protector. She, of all the sisters, particularly seems to relish the role of "big sister." As the girls set off on a bit of an adventure, which Ivy is pretty opposed to from the start, things happen that jeopardize not just Lily's independence but ultimately her very freedom and well-being. The misunderstanding sets of a series of events that forces Ivy to face some hard memories and then some hard truths about who she is, who they are as sisters, and where they are "heading" in their lives. I won't ruin the story line for you but I really enjoyed the revelations that they faced about themselves as unique individuals separate from their twin-ship as well as the things they learned and ultimately cherished about their equally unique bond of sisterhood. The way they come back together as strong, independent, and ultimately healthy individuals greatly enhances not just their relationship but that of their whole family, too. That message of strong family ties built amidst hard, heart-wrenching tragedy and self-sacrifice really resonated with me.

Along the way, almost as a back story connecting much of the the details that support the girls' escapades, is woven an expansion of Li Jin's (or Dahlia's) story from Tangled Vines. She's come into Benfu's fold, learning to embrace her role in the new-to-her family that has longed for years to have relationship with her. She brought with her a son and a companion named Sami from the days before she was found by Linnea. But she also brought along a huge heart for serving the disenfranchised and a big vision for creative practical ways to do that. The unfolding of the community that she builds while she is learning to live in this (again) new-to-her expanding family is really well written. On a personal note, I had the privilege of visiting the "complex" or compound of Living Hope International's Beijing home back in April when we adopted our Mei Mei and when I read the descriptions of the shelter that Li Jin creates and crafts into a community, I completely relate to what is happening in her heart and mind. I keep picturing the physical surroundings of the LHI home when I'm reading and it's really a fun way to connect with the story.

Throughout the whole book, Kay does an excellent job of creating vivid pictures with her words. The little glimpses into everyday life in the bustling streets of China. The peeks into lives of street vendors and Benfu's whole "common folk" family. These all are things that keep me reading and make me want MORE of this mysterious land from which my daughters came. Her descriptions and understanding of Chinese culture draw me in to that mystery but also make me acutely aware of the common ground between the regular every day there and the regular every day here. I'm so grateful for what I learn about a culture different than mine when I read these books. But I'm also really thankful for the reminders I get along the way. Family is family, where ever you go. There's pain, there's difficulty, there's hardship. But there's also great joy and love. There's someone who has your back - even if you think you are the strong one who has always had their back. Those lessons are timeless. They are also the biggest reason I find this whole series so meaningful. I can't wait for more stories about Benfu and Callie's beautiful daughters!

*I was provided with a free,
Advance Reader's Copy
in exchange for a fair review of this book.

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