The Bracelet: A Novel. Roberta Gately. Published by Gallery Books. November 2012. 336 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9781451669121.
Abby Monroe has lost her job as a nurse after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the hospital in New Orleans where she worked. Soon thereafter her boyfriend Eric dumped her and moved from Boston to Oregon, saying he needed to do this alone. Now she's initially in Geneva, where she inadvertently witnesses a devastating crime which haunts her dreams for a very long time. Now, she just wants to get away which she does by being accepted for a UN job in Pakistan. The nightmare and sorrow of the past now becomes the escape route to reshaping her life but certainly not as expected at all!
Abby receives a warm welcome from another UN worker, Najeela, and a cold, hard look from the UN housekeeper, Hana. Reeling from the sites of abandoned children and abused women at a nearby refugee cam, Abby meets an American Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist, Nick who initially strikes her as an arrogant waste of a guy but who later will be the link that helps her keep her sanity. Now Abby is enduring culture shock of the highest magnitude!
In the days ahead Abby learns of the sexual traffic and opium businesses that just might be linked to someone she is coming to know well. Story after story is recounted by women who were sold as young girls in order to insure financial solvency for the girls' family, with devastating, abusive scars that will probably never heal permanently.
The remainder of the story concerns the capture of those deeply involved in maintaining and promoting the illegal sexual and drug traffic not only in Pakistan and nearby Afghanistan but across the Middle East and Europe as well. Some characters are part of the secret sent to put a stop to this travesty of justice and the story ultimately reaches a violent conclusion involving some thought to be innocent and others who seemed unimportant who are pivotal to solving these crimes.
The Bracelet: A Novel is a hard, tough story to take but a necessary one. This is truly "real" fiction and well told. It should be a story that fosters greater dialogue about how to cope with these pathological, evil deeds and their perpetrators. Finely told, Ms. Gately