Jeff Talarigo’s — Pearl Diver

Jeff Talarigo’s — Pearl Diver

In the late 1940s the youngest pearl diver works on Shodo Island. But four years after diving off the waters of Japan, she’s rejected by her family and society when she contracts leprosy. Sent to a leper colony on Nagashina Island, her disease doesn’t spread once a new medicine is discovered, but can she regain her freedom to live a normal life again?

Roma Tearne’s — Mosquito

Roma Tearne’s — Mosquito

When Theo returns to Sri Lanka from London to write his novel he is distracted by Nulani who draws him out of his beach side home. After Mrs Mendis reminds him of earlier racial riots when her husband was drenched in petrol and set alight, Theo cannot shut out the rising racial tension outside his door, nor his love for Nulani.

Can their love survive when Theo’s Sinhalese ethnic group is rioting against Nulani’s Tamil minority?

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

After a regime change in 14thcentury Persia, Ghia, along with his wife and children flee to Qandahar. There he meets a merchant heading to India. When they arrive, the merchant introduces Ghia to Emperor Akbar who soon employs him. Ghia believes his good fortune is due to his youngest daughter, Mehunnisa. At age eight, she first glimpses at Akbar’s son, Prince Salim at his wedding when her ambitions stir.

Lisa See’s — The island of sea women *****

Lisa See’s — The island of sea women *****

When I first began this book, I expected it to be like White chrysanthemum because both books focus on Haenyeo women of Jeju Island, South Korea, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. White Chrysanthemum lent towards comfort women while The island of sea women was about friendship among Haenyeo groups during the country’s turbulent times and the need to forgive.

Not only was the story a page turner, but the lives of these unique groups of women along Jeju’s coastline who support their families while the husbands stay home to care for their children was a fascinating background setting.

Katherine Marsh’s — Nowhere boy *****

Katherine Marsh’s — Nowhere boy *****

Thirteen year old Max is not one bit happy his parents have moved from Washington D.C. to spend a year working in Brussels. To make matters worse, Max has to repeat grade six in a French school. The boys in his class make fun of him and the only one who helps him with his French is Farah. But Max’s life takes a dramatic turn when he discovers a Syrian refugee hiding in their cellar. Will he tell his parents or will be inspired by a neighbour, Albert Jonnart who hid a Jewish child during the WW11?

A well crafted YA novel that examines the challengers facing refugees and the fear and prejudice in the countries they move to.