Author: Reine Arcache Melvin
Published by: Europa Editions on Sep. 15, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 8/10
Set during a time of political upheaval and civil unrest, The Betrayed tells a sensual and sprawling story about two sisters who love the same man. Passionately told, and portraying a Philippines rarely seen in fiction, Reine Archache Melvin’s American debut is a gripping, sensual story that readers will not soon forget.
Shy, idealistic Pilar is resolved to carry on her dead father’s fight against the dictatorial regime in control of their homeland, while her flamboyant older sister Lali reacts to their father’s death by marrying the enemy—Arturo, the dictator’s godson. Each sister is prey to her desires and ambitions as she tries to find her place in a rapidly changing world.
Taking in the Philippines’ troubled history from the Marcos dictatorship to the establishment of the current autocratic regime, and expertly layering into this timely story many aspects of the human condition, The Betrayed is a complex and luminous novel.
Intense, vivid, and timely!
The Betrayed is a riveting tale that sweeps you away to the Philippines. A country ravished and oppressed by war, rebellion, oppression, economic instability, social injustice, political upheaval, and a populace that is confused, disappointed, angry and struggling with self-identity, patriotism, and a lack of rights and freedoms.
The prose is gritty and raw. The characters are multi-layered, self-indulgent, and vulnerable. And the plot is a sophisticated tale about familial relationships, moral dilemmas, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, infidelity, manipulation, exploitation, violence, deception, and jealousy.
Overall, The Betrayed is an astute, tragic, propulsive tale that does a wonderful job of delving into all the messy emotional and psychological entanglements that exist between family members, friends, our histories and the places we call home and reminds us that the choices we make often have far-reaching consequences.
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Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.