Child of Dust
by Shoba Sadler
Publication Date September 7, 2016
Genres: Romance, Action/Adventure
If you loved the movie LION starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, you will be touched by what Amerasian Bryan Nguyen had to endure as a child.
Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents shocking death from the dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen.
Kim steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi. She finds herself living under the roof of a shop cum living quarters with Bryan and his adoptive family.
Ever conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life.
He still bears the scars of abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops pulled out of Vietnam.
Eventually Bryan and Kim's powerful attraction to each other begins to break down the wall between them.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
The author of the book contacted me via GoodReads and asked me if I was interested in a free copy of the book. Though I hesitated because the cover made me think the book would be more sensual than not, I read the synopsis and decided to accept, looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about the struggles faced by those living in Vietnam. In that respect, I was not disappointed. The story started with some beautiful similes and I anticipated an enjoyable story. The setting, by my estimate, was mid 1990s. The contrast between the rich and the poor was made abundantly clear. The Nguyen family, shopkeepers, didn’t even have a real shower. And the poor were in even more dire straits,View Spoiler »Bryan’s story was filled with sadness. Abandoned by his parents when he was 5, cared for by missionaries only to be left when they were forced to leave the country, best friend dies of AIDS as a teenager, wife abandons him and their child. Oh, and being an outcast because of his mixed race. Ouch. « Hide Spoiler
While I felt bad for Kim for the circumstances in her life, I never really liked her. She was certainly a spoiled brat and a snob at the beginning, and though her circumstances changed so she was no longer rich, she never really became that much more likable.
What I enjoyed about the story: I did enjoy learning about Vietnam and the culture. There were some beautiful similes used and it was fun reading in the British English that used. The overall plot was good. The cover was appropriate for Bryan’s story as a Child of the Dust who had to work doing manual labor in the heat of Vietnam.
What I didn’t enjoy about the story: The one thing that stands out the most is that there was much more discussion of lust and sensuality than I care to read. Bryan’s childhood friend, Hoa resorted to prostitution to survive and while there were no descriptions sexual acts, there were enough mentions of details surrounding those circumstances that made me uncomfortable. The relationship between Bryan and Kim emphasized the physical attraction more than I felt it should have as well. There were also quite a few places in the book that I read and re-read trying to understand exactly what had happened, yet I wasn’t quite clear on it. And some of the plot elements just didn’t quite make sense. and the resolution of the details regarding her parents death and her uncle’s behavior didn’t really add up in my opinion.
Overall, I am glad that I read the story, but can’t give it a wholehearted recommendation, especially not for a younger audience.
Genre: Romance, Christian Romance, Multicultural, Historical