The Home Office estimates that there are currently around 13,000 slaves in the UK, though other sources suggest this is a gross underestimate).
From the start of the book to the last page it is clear that the topic of domestic slavery and human trafficking is an important issue for the author. The story reads all too authentic. Well researched. And Razia’s heart-breaking tale outraged me, as it should. It was an upsetting story, a sad story but an important one about a subject that should be discussed more. I hope this book gets the readership it deserves.
For me the book read like the author wrote what she knew and it wasn’t until after I finished Razia that I read – “Abda Khan is a lawyer and campaigner who works with victims of domestic violence, and was Highly Commended in the 2017 NatWest Asian Women of Achievement Awards.” None of which surprised me, but made me appreciate the book on another level.
The writing in Razia wasn’t perfect. I found a few times that the character’s dialogue spelled out exactly what was happening and I felt it was a bit too obvious, I remember thinking at one point near the very beginning that no-one would have said that. And Abda Khan had a tendency to over describe a character’s physical appearance, it was just a few small details that drew me out of the story. And there was a little bit of info dumping going on at times. Small, small problems. Nothing worthy of putting you off picking up Razia.
But her food descriptions – wonderful! Made me hungry.
I thought the novel was almost written in 3 parts and the middle section completely grabbed my attention. I could have lived without the romance. And personally, I didn’t care for the epilogue. I thought that Razia read as a multi-layered story that depicted many aspects of Pakistani culture, there was also a strong contrast between the poor and the rich that added to the plight of the characters. Abda Khan packed a lot of story, atmosphere and character development into a 351 page book.
For me, Razia was a real grab your attention read – a novel with a purpose. I read the book over a two day period and I found it a gripping, difficult and sad read. I really liked Farah as the main character, even if I felt she was a tad naive at points. And Razia. And Ali. I loved how fleshed out all the characters felt. I won’t be forgetting Razia anytime soon. It kept me turning the pages.
Razia by Abda Khan was published to coincide with World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July. I received a copy of Razia from the publisher via Anne the blog tour organiser in exchange for an honest review – Thank you!
Abda Khan’s first book Stained is now patiently waiting to be read on my kindle and I will be watching out for whatever she writes next.
A fast-paced thriller that exposes the truth behind Britain’s darkest secret.
Farah is a young lawyer living and working in London. She’s just ended a long relationship, and her parents are looking for a husband – whether Farah wants one or not. So far, so normal. But at a work dinner, hosted by a dangerously powerful man, she comes across a young woman called Razia, who Farah soon realises is being kept as a domestic slave. We follow Farah’s daring investigations from the law courts of London to the brick kilns of Lahore, as she begins to uncover the traps that keep generation after generation enslaved. Everywhere she turns there is deep-rooted oppression and corruption, and when the authorities finally intervene, their actions have dire consequences. Farah teams up with a human rights lawyer, Ali, and the two become close… but can she trust him; can they help Razia and others like her; and will they ever discover the explosive secret behind these tragic events?