This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Mango Blood by Maryvonne Fent is the historical fiction sequel to Fent's novel, The 35-cent Dowry, and picks up where the previous book left off. For those who have not read the first book, the main protagonist is Minouche, a young Frenchwoman, who married her Polish boyfriend Stefan and they are starting a life together in India. The novel reads perfectly well as a standalone but the reader who skips book one is robbing themselves. Fent begins with a heartbreaking scene of a young girl in the last days of British India whose life was destroyed while walking home from dance lessons. The story then moves to Minouche in India and the steady breakdown of her marriage to Stefan, who is increasingly intolerant of Minouche's independent ideas about who she wants to be and what she wants to do. India embraces Minouche in every conceivable way, and as she blossoms from a naïve young girl in love to a woman in her own right she starts to thrive, only to be thwarted once more by men who believe Minouche is pushing the boundaries too far.
I had mixed feelings when I started reading Mango Blood because the stories of white women trying to find themselves and fix what they see as backward in other cultures tend not to end well. I am South Asian and lived there until I was 20. My parents were born in India and lived through the Partition and bloody mass migration. I'm sensitive to how stories like these are told but found that Maryvonne Fent is among the more sensitive writers describing a time, place, and outlook that, to most who survived, cannot be spoken of. By using Minouche's point of view we are given an imperfect character who feels authentic in her perception of life in India even when it is flawed. It is the imperfections that humanize her and in doing so Fent makes her into someone we care about. The plot is a slow burn but the pace never falters. Growing up in the shadow of colonialism is going to change how I viewed a lot of Fent's characters, and I say that because I want to point out the importance of this. I saw Fent's characters. I don't know that a better compliment can be paid to an author than one that shows the people and scenes they crafted feel real enough to see. Well done.