S.G.D. Singh has been on my radar since I read The Infernal Guard Trilogy (Emergence, Descent & Severance). That fantasy trilogy was so unique and deserves so much more attention!! This author has written two more books since then and Exiled to Freedom is one of them.
I was really curious about this book and thanks to the author and Lola’s Blog Tours for providing me with an ARC to read and review. Today I’m going to talk about this book!
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. Then, in the summer of 1947, 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 be one of the countless refugees struggling to survive one of the greatest human 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. As she searches for meaning in the materialistic and shallow existences of her American family, 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.
“What hatred burned in the hearts of men that drove them to such madness?”
What I love the most about this author is that she takes us places a lot of YA books don’t. Exiled to Freedom takes us to India and we meet Priya. She’s in India with her family for a cousin’s wedding. This is the last place Priya wants to be and her attitude lets everyone know this. Growing up in a wealthy family, Priya is definitely used to a certain lifestyle and her life gets a bit more complicated when she’s left at her great-grandmother’s house.
Biji, the great-grandmother, was my favorite character of this story. Her past isn’t easy to talk about, but as Priya is there for awhile, she gets curious about Biji’s past. I have heard about the Partition, but after reading this it’s clear I didn’t know much at all. This author doesn’t shy away from anything that happened in that time in history. Biji’s story is heartbreaking, but beautiful at the same time. She’s definitely someone we would all be lucky to have as a grandmother.
“When love is your guide, there is nothing – nothing – you need to fear.”
Priya grows a lot in this book and realizes what she wants in life and that isn’t the life her parents want for her. I loved seeing her open up and help around the house. She became less of the spoiled brat and realizes she is definitely lucky. I also loved her saving that dog. So generous and I wouldn’t have been able to turn away either. I would’ve loved to have read more about how things went after she went back home.
That being said, while I loved this story, there were a couple of aspects that didn’t completely fit for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance, but this one felt a little too unrealistic for me. I completely understand the connection and bond they feel after what they do together and the story they hear told. It only felt a bit too quick for how far it went here. Also, the little adventure they go on to help Biji was fun to read, but didn’t feel completely realistic. It went just a bit too easy.
“No one can make your future for you. If you limit yourself, you will be limited. But if you relate to infinity, you are infinity. You can do whatever you put your mind to. You can change the world.”
All in all, I really did enjoy this book. I couldn’t put it down. I think it’s amazing she based this on a true story. It’s so important to keep history alive and not hide the bad things that happened. We should learn from them, not tuck them away! The writing was amazing and I can’t wait to read another story from this author!
Another amazing book by this author! If you’re either looking for a fantasy series or a historical fiction, I definitely recommend her stories. I’m starting to realize that I want to read more historical fiction. Please let me know if you have any recommendations!