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    Beautifully Written, very good story!

    I will start this review by telling you that I finished this book about 10 days ago. It has stuck with me and the review has been written in pieces as I tried to relate how this book made me feel. I started a bit slowly, so I didn't miss any of the details. Then about the 3rd chapter I was totally hooked. Kali Matai is has been trained from a very early age to be a tawaif, which is an Indian courtesan. She has been taught many things during the training she received. Most importantly though, is how to please a man. She is very talented and much sought-after. But the story goes back to before she was born. Her mother was also a tawaif. She was given as a gift to an English military man. Things happen and he is unable or unwilling to stay with Kali's mother and the children she has had by him. Kali comes to England only to find that her father feels nothing for her or her sister. Only that they should continue on with their lifestyle. And he sees a way they could help him politically. The lifestyle that Kali has had to endure is a heartless endeavor. The men she is attached to don't care for her opinions, they just want to be pleased and are willing to pay for the privilege. Kali is highly skilled and has many men clamoring for her attentions. They ply her with jewels and gifts, but she is left feeling used. She wishes she could change her life. Could just live her life without the crowds of men always bothering her. But she has others to think about so she must play the games of the men in control of her life until she can figure out how to get out from under their thumbs. I don't want to give the story away so I will stop there and tell you that the author has such a way with words! The story brought out many feelings as I read it. Heartbreak, happiness, insolence, and a sense of Kali being wronged just made the story more poignant. The descriptions were wonderful and made me feel like I was in the dance hall or the parlor with the characters, wherever they were. The heartbreak Kali felt was also very real for me. Mariana Gabrielle (Mari Christie) has a talent for writing stories that make you think for a while after reading them. I definitely feel like this is a book I can and will read again and probably find new details I had missed the first time. I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. But I loved it so much that I bought it as well!

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