The Bracelet starts off with intrigue and excitement from the first page. Author Roberta Gately gives the reader a mystery from the first page with Abby Monroe, a new UN worker, taking a morning run in Geneva. To her surprise, she witnesses a woman falling from a fourth-floor balcony of one of the many “soaring office towers.”
Abby could not tell if the woman had been pushed or had fallen to the street right in front of her. Abby notices a bracelet sparkling on the dead woman’s arm. As she tries to examine the body, she hears a man from the balcony yelling. She hides while the man makes his way to where the dead woman is on the ground.
Eventually, Abby goes for help and when she returns, the body is missing. The opening scene plays an integral part in the rest of the novel. Abby continues to make her way from Geneva to Peshawar, Pakistan, “one of the world’s most unstable cities,” writes the author.
Abby made the journey to escape several setbacks and a lot of heartbreak she experienced in Boston. She had to leave her job as a nursing graduate working in a hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. With the hospital suffering major damage and still underwater, it closed for good. She and her best friend Emily moved to Boston.
She started working in a pediatric clinic where she was in charge of immunizations. She met and started dating an intern at the hospital. After three years of a near perfect life together, the recession hit. Abby got laid off and Eric, the boyfriend, took off. He dumped her in an email.
Abby’s plan was to make her own place in the world and decided to apply for a position with the United Nations, a six-month assignment tracking vaccine statistics. Her application for the position was accepted and she made her way to Pakistan.
After experiencing a woman falling to her death in front of her, she continues to dream about the event for weeks to come. She meets Najeela, the administrative assistant for the UN office with whom she is working and living. Abby also meets Najeela’s family and fiancé. Then there is the housekeeper, Hana, who presents the biggest surprise for the reader at the end of the book.
Abby also meets a New York Times reporter there working on a story about human trafficking. Abby and the reporter eventually work on the story together which leads them through a tangled web of lies and characters that the readers will love to hate. Also, Abby does see the bracelet again, finally learning what happened to the woman who fell to her death.
The Bracelet does a remarkable job of allowing the main character to find love when surrounded by such a troublesome topics as sex slaves and human trafficking of young girls. The author includes stories of children being sold by their families.
The families are living in such poor conditions and squalor that when the fathers are approached by men promising work and a better life for their daughters, the fathers take the money and send off the daughters.
While Gately does treat the topic of sex slaves and human trafficking with dignity and tries to portray the seriousness of the issue, such a topic may not be suitable for some readers. The author provides her own perspective on subject in the back of the book. She writes,
”When I began to research human trafficking for this novel, I was stunned by the extensive local and global reach of this insidious and cruel business. The harsh reality is almost mind-numbing, for human trafficking may well be the fastest growing industry in the world. And, why not? The UN Population Fund recently reported that it was the third most lucrative illegal trade, surpassed by only drugs and arms trading, and brings in an estimated 32 billion tax-free dollars per year”
She goes onto write that sex trafficking is happening everywhere, including the United States. Much of it, according to the author, happens in massage parlors in strip malls, office buildings, and in some cases in residential homes in the suburbs.
Gately’s writing is exciting and the reader is effortlessly carried through The Bracelet by the story. Some may be uncomfortable with certain aspects of the story. It will help to keep in mind that bringing awareness to a problem is often one of the first steps to solving or eliminating a problem.Powered by Sidelines