This is my stop during the blog tour for Exiled to Freedom by SGD Singh. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 August. See the tour schedule here.
Seventeen year old Joti lives a peaceful life on her ancestral farm in Punjab, far from political turmoil, foreign wars, and the struggle for independence. Until the summer of 1947, when her country is suddenly partitioned to create two sovereign nations—Pakistan and India.
Punjab erupts into a shattered land of nightmares, torn apart by death and destruction. Before the violence subsides, millions of people will have lost their lives and Joti will find herself amongst the countless refugees fighting to survive one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era.
In the summer of 2018, seventeen year old Priya travels from her home in New York City to her great grandmother’s farm in Punjab. Searching for meaning in her materialistic and shallow existence, she becomes determined to uncover the mysteries of the past and heal her family’s wounds, left too long unattended.
Priya soon finds herself on an adventure of discovery, learning what it is to love and what it means to know true peace.
You can find Exiled to Freedom on Goodreads
You can buy Exiled to Freedom here on Amazon
Where do I start with this book? This story affected me in ways that no other book has. It’s my first book by this author, and definitely won’t be my last!! The writing is A-MAZING!!! It is told in two timelines. The great grandmother, Biji, tells her Americanized daughter the story of the Partition of India. She didn’t skip a thing when telling this story, she told all the distressing, heartbreaking details. I had no idea!! It was very hard to read at times, but I’m really glad i did! It was written so that you got a break from the tragedy when the great grandmother got tired out from telling a story that affected her so deeply. Then the story would turn to modern times when Priya, the great granddaughter adapted to the harder, less convenient life of her great grandmother. Priya and Rohit, the boy who worked for Biji, grow closer as the story progresses. And Priya comes to really love Biji and her life there with her.
It is a beautiful story about growth, love and learning to appreciate life (not just things). I never read anything historical. But this book made me realize the if it’s written well it can be something i enjoy reading. Plus i learned so much!!
“There are two kinds of people in this world,” Biji said eventually. “Those who find it easy and natural to justify their own actions, no matter how those actions affect the world around them…”
More tinkling of china.
“And those for whom any kind of injustice or ill-gotten gain is painful. They would rather live in honest poverty than in palaces built on the pain or loss of those less fortunate than themselves.”
“Oh, here we go.” Mom heaved a sigh filled with so much exasperation that we could hear it where we stood. Definitely losing her shit. “Time to attack the wealthy. Biji, I really don’t have ti—”
Biji spoke over her. “Priya belongs to the second group. And there is nothing you or anyone can do to change that.”
“And her education? What about her future?”
“She will return with you to finish her education, of course,” Biji said. “But I have a feeling her career choice will not be one you would choose for her.”
“She’s decided on some noble pursuit, is that it?” Mom had a talent for injecting disgust into any phrase, no matter how positive. It was enough to motivate very noble pursuits, indeed. “And you actually think this sudden drive to righteousness will finally satisfy her? That after cleaning off the stains of our money she won’t be angry all the time?”
“She’s angry for one simple reason,” Biji said. “She’s angry because money is a poor substitute for faith.”
“Oh, faith!” New heights of disgust had been reached. Congratulations, Mom.
They fell silent. I imagined Biji smiling her mischievous smile.
“Look at that,” she said, her voice bright, clearly changing the subject. “Today the sky is such a clear blue, isn’t it? It is truly amazing how storms can strike, devastating the world beneath them, and then one day they simply pass away, leaving new life in their wake. And as the seasons pass, we watch what has become withered and old die back, making room for new growth, continuing the endless cycle of birth and death.”
I waited for Mom to answer, but she said nothing.
“I learned a new lesson recently,” Biji continued. “Just because something is gone, left in the ashes of the past…doesn’t mean it has to be forgotten. All life has one thing in common. The plants, the trees, down to every insect. That is the capacity to evolve. To learn from mistakes, to do better, to be a better version of itself.”
Biji spoke to me, not my mother, and I nodded just as if she could see me.
Maybe there didn’t need to be some cosmic plan to anything. Maybe simply living—really living—was enough.
After a few minutes, we heard the downstairs door open, and Namrita said something in rapid Punjabi to Biji, and they went inside.
I reached out and closed the window.
My tears were dry, and I found that I couldn’t stop smiling. Mom would always be Mom. Protective and caring in her own distant way, but definitely belonging to that first group Biji described.
About the Author:
SiriGuruDev Singh lives in New Mexico and Punjab, India with her husband, two daughters, and various extended relatives and animals. She is the author of the YA urban fantasy trilogy The Infernal Guard and Exiled To Freedom, a YA historical fiction novel about India’s bloody Partition of 1947.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Exiled to Freedom. There will be 5 winners who all win a signed copy of Exiled to Freedom. Open International.
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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