Sutra of the Pearl

A journey to India; a path to forgiveness

Fiction - Realistic
300 Pages
Reviewed on 06/19/2022
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Author Biography

Like many novels this story started as merely a way to journal and decompress from the post-trauma of working with India's street dogs. As a former journalist it soon grew into a full-blown novel about a woman and her adventures in India. While a fiction, I daresay some scenes in India are autobiographical. The photos of Tibet/India on my author website illustrate this well.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Sutra of the Pearl: A Journey to India; a Path to Forgiveness by Lee Kaiser is a contemporary fiction novel that follows its female protagonist, Julie Paglia, to India in the hope of finding ancient texts. Julie's goal is pretty straightforward except for one minor detail: she has zero idea how to even get offshore from the seaside village she's been in for months to go diving and even try to look for the texts. And then, she does. What she finds is not exactly what she was looking for, but it is still a massive discovery. National Geographic is calling. Also calling is a group that shares her passion for environmental causes...and this is when everything derails. Assistance to eco-terrorists under false pretenses and the legal problems surrounding her discovery and her past is bad enough, but when you pile on issues that both she and her boyfriend Ram have and then multiply it by about a thousand when both include unrelated've got yourself a drama worth reading.

I love Julie Paglia as a character and even though she can sometimes be a little on the kooky side, it's pretty difficult not to root for her in Sutra of the Pearl. Ram is equally intriguing and even though in my mind he crosses an unforgivable line, Lee Kaiser is exceptional in crafting depth and authenticity in both as complex characters, warts and all. And there are a lot of warts. This is probably one of the most flawed casts of characters I've encountered. It is also one of the most entertaining. As a woman who is married to a South Asian man, the scene at a family dinner is, sadly, not entirely far off from reality in a lot of cases and particularly in the early nineties. I am on the fence regarding Julie's culpability as an “observer” in one of the book's more open plots, and I was kind of underwhelmed by the baby Doni arc. That said, Kaiser's complete dedication to accurately depicting PTSD and how trauma, particularly violent abuse, can continue to rob otherwise beautiful moments until the day we die is gorgeous in how profoundly raw it is. Between the characters, the subplots, the racism, family dynamics, murder, success, pain, and everything else this book offers, I would give it an entire jar of gold coins if I could. Very highly recommended.


5.0 out of 5 stars Great surprise
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2022
Wow. This book was recommended by the other author and I took a chance. What a great book. Lee managed to put together history, mystery and thrilling personal journey of the female character with perfect flow, refreshing language and making people to think. I did not expect this journey to India become a page turner and the sleep thief.
First novel of enormous caliber. I cannot wait for the next book and hope Lee is as fast writing as she is good at it. Bravo. You shine. Thank you.

Darrin Caruso

Darrin Caruso
4.0 out of 5 stars The feel and culture of India.
Reviewed in Canada on February 16, 2021
Verified Purchase
A fascinating story of a young woman who goes to India to discover her self and a secret scroll. Love this story. Lee has a wonderful way with words.

Booklife Prize

Plot/Idea: Kaiser presents an elaborate storyline weaving together several detailed subplots. Readers may be confused by the immense scope of the novel, as they work to differentiate the various characters and how they relate to the main protagonist, Julie—whose history, parceled out in pieces, is multi-layered and complex.

Prose: Kaiser is a strong writer who skillfully handles dialogue and action. The story's frequent descriptive sections could be further defined, particularly in relation to Julie's past.

Originality: This is an intriguing read with a solid framework.

Character Development/Execution: Julie's emotions and motives are thoroughly fleshed out, making her a defining character plagued by anger and resentment. Secondary characters are convincing and help advance the plot, but at times become hard to track when the story switches between past and present perspectives.


Plot/Idea: 7
Originality: 10
Prose: 8
Character/Execution: 9
Overall: 8.50
Report Submitted: October 8, 2022