Cover Image: The Braid

The Braid

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Member Reviews

Amazing story about three strong women in different paths of the world who do what they have to do when faced with the harsh realities of life. The single connecting factor : hair ! Throurougly enjoyed this page turner.
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3.49 stars

I feel like I could write two very different reviews of The Braid.

Version 1: The Braid is a very readable short novel that had me fully engaged from beginning to end. There are three strands to the story which appear to be completely separate but come together in the end – like a braid, of course. The first strand focuses on Samsi who lives in India, and is part of the “untouchable” cast; Samsi desperately wants to give her daughter a better life. The second strand is about Giulia who lives in Sicily, and works for her family run business of recovering and treating hair for wigs. And finally there is Sarah, who lives in Montreal, a single mother of three who also works as a high powered lawyer. All three women are at crossroads in their lives. Their stories alternate and come together nicely at the end. It’s a bit didactic, but I couldn’t help being pulled in by these three vivid characters in different circumstances.

Version 2: It’s always dangerous to write about circumstances that aren’t your own. It’s easy to simplify and to make assumptions that end up turning people into caricatures rather than fully formed people with complex emotions and motivations. The author of The Braid is French, and yet she writes about about characters in very different parts of the world. Being familiar with the world of one of the characters – Sarah – the depiction of her life and the people around her really struck me as superficial. Which, of course, made me wonder about the less familiar worlds of Samsi and Giulia.

Two sides of the same coin.

I wish I had known that The Braid was translated from French before I started it because I would have read it in the original version. Having said that, it is a very good translation. I never felt that I was reading a translation.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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The Braid is a beautiful story of three women separated in place, and yet united in the pursuit of their dreams and the strength they possess. There are three very strong characters in this story – Smita is an untouchable who wants her daughter, Lalita, to have a better life. She does not like the destiny that has been imposed on her, so for her daughter’s sake, she decides to be the mother she never had – she decides to educate her little girl, inspite of all the odds. 

Giulia has been working with her father as a child and knows all the secrets of her family business of creating wigs from real hair. When her father is injured in an accident and she learns about the financial situation they are in. She meets Kamal, a man from India, and taking inspiration that he has to offer, she must decide to do something unheard of to save her family business and employees.

Sarah is a headstrong lawyer who has put her career in front of everything. Being diagnosed with cancer changes everything and she must find a way to not let the superficial and unsympathetic people around her bring her down.

I loved The Braid for a number of reasons. The primary one would always be the fact that it taught me so much about my own culture. I was born and raised in India and moved to Canada a couple years ago. I embody the Indian culture in my own unique way and it is not often that I get a chance to see it in depth through someone else’s eyes. 

There are so many lessons to take from these three amazing women! While facing the obstacles that the society has placed in front of them, just because of the family they were born in, or the career they have to pursue, Smita, Giulia and Sarah show the reader that there is always the possibility to do something different, to be different and to not repeat the cycle that has been happening for generations. Each pf these women, while powerful, are tender and loving in their own way. They care deeply about their family and would do anything to succeed. I could not get enough of this book and that is why here I’m writing about it the day after I finished it. 

I am forever be thankful to Simon & Schuster Canada for making it available on NetGalley. I probably would have missed this book otherwise. And now, it is a prized possession in my home library and a book that I will share with my daughter in the future. 

If you are a woman, in any profession, you should read this book. If you are a man, you should also read this book. No matter who you are, this will remind you of the strength that women hide and the extent to which they will go to do the best for their family and children.
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Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the chance to read The braid by Laetitia Colombani. I was interested in the premise of this story of three women, Smita in India wanting to give her child an education is willing to cut her hair, Guilia in Sicily works in her fathers wig workshop must find a way to pull it from bankruptcy, and Sarah in Montreal, a successful lawyer is diagnosed with cancer and starts chemo.  I will say I was disappointed and I I think this would be better as a movie.  It was predictable and the ending was flat.
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3.5 STARS - I was drawn to this book by its stunning cover art and its premise. This is a story that weaves brief moments in the lives of three women as they confront obstacles, discrimination and restrictions despite their differences in social class, socio-economic status, culture and country.

The story focuses on three women who each show strength as they attempt to rise above what life has thrown at them: Smita, an 'untouchable' in India's lowest caste, Giulia a wig maker in Sicily and Sarah, a corporate lawyer in Montreal. This was an engaging read but I wasn't surprised to learn that the author is also a screenwriter. Its writing had a different feel - a short story vibe, if you will, that introduces women's issues and characters but not a lot of depth was given to either. These stories are loosely tied together with an abrupt, slightly far-fetched ending. This was a good read, but not the wow read I was expecting.

Overall, I enjoyed this brief journey through the lives of these three women who are bonded by their tenacity and perseverance despite the obstacles that life throws in their paths. This is a quick, engaging read that will open some readers' eyes to cultures and issues they may not be aware of and will provoke excellent discussion.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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It explores the lives and situations of three very different women, widely separated by social class, work, traditions, culture and geography.

This was a nice quick read about three women from completely different parts of the world and socioeconomic status, their struggles and battles, their victories and their defeats, the choices they make and how their choices eventually connect them together, however small that connection was. This book is a great tribute to all strong women of this world who do not give up, who rise up in the face of adversity and succeed no matter what life throws at them.

Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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A mother in India, a young woman in Italy, and a woman in Montreal. The author does an excellent job of introducing the readers to these 3 very different characters. The "untouchable" in India wants nothing more than a better future for her daughter and will stop at nothing to attain it. Our Italian woman is following in her father's footsteps, working in his hair workshop, preparing human hair to be made into wigs. Sarah, a high-powered lawyer has created a hard shell around herself in order to move up the ladder of success. What do these 3 women have in common? Tenacity, resilience and the desire to fight for themselves and their families. At the risk of giving away too much of the story, I will say only that each woman fights her own personal battle to achieve the goal that she has for herself. All three of them discover that the goal they initially sought to attain, was not necessarily the one that was in their best interests. During their journeys, they learned a little more about themselves and about what is really important in life. 
The story was short and ended a bit abruptly. I feel the author could have carried the story a bit further,perhaps connecting the woman in a deeper way. I was given a free electronic copy of The Braid and once I began to read it, I couldn't put it down, finishing it in a day or two.
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This story is an exploration of the lives of three women, widely divided by social class, tradition, privilege, culture and geography. Despite these vastly different circumstances and the options available to these women, they are all equally trapped.  Either in a prison made for them, or one they have created for themselves.  

While on the surface they have little to nothing in common, they each find the courage to face the obstacles in their paths. The book illustrates that at times, choices are foisted upon us and we must discover the power to make our own, even at a cost unthinkable to us.

I enjoyed the diverse stories and the books unequivocal celebration of womanhood, the power we wield and our significance in the world.
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Like a braid, this book takes 3 separate story strands and weaves them through one another in alternating chapters. The result is a beautiful story of the empowerment and strength of women. Much like the idea of ‘six degrees of separation’ this book links stories in Montreal, Sicily and India.

I really enjoyed the reading process of this book. The chapters were short and gave just a hint of what’s to come while tugging at your heart strings. What seemed like a story that was going to be depressing and sad, instead showed resilience and a sense of hope.

Thank you to Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book publishes September 24, 2019.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster and the author Ms. Laetitia Colombani for the opportunity to fall in love with this outstanding book..."The Braid".

5 Stars

This is the passionate and heartbreaking story of three strong willed women who are inextricably linked by a simple braid of hair.

We meet "smita", from India, an untouchable who fights to break the bonds of the caste system and raise her daughter above what her birthright dictates.

We meet " Guila", from Sicily, who wants more from life than marrying the neighbour's boring son. She wants a life filled with passion... and in her work and in a man. 

We meet "Sarah", from Montreal, a high pressure lawyer living tough and strong in a misogynistic dominated career. She wants to go to the top and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

These 3 stories are woven tightly together as the braid that will eventually link them.

An outstanding story of female strength that comes from adversity, these three women will stay with the reader long after the last page is read.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Braid. 
Like the three strands used to plait a braid, this story interconnects the tales of three woman. Smita is a wife and mother who is desperate to change her life, for herself and daughter.  Giulia lives in Italy and, after tragic events, is faced with a decision that could change the future of the family’s business. And then there is Sarah, a successful lawyer who lives in Canada and wants for nothing.  Although continents separate them, the three women are interconnected through various strands of the story.

The Braid is a translated version from the original French novel “La Tresse”.  The writing is beautifully uncomplicated but still provides the reader with insight into the psyche of each character. From the first chapter, Smita grabbed my heart and empathy as her life is described, and her hopes and dreams for her daughter are told.  As the writing unfolds, Smita, Giulia and Sarah face their own challenges in different countries, but yet provide support and hope for each other in the end.  The Braid may be slightly predictable but that should not dissuade any prospective readers from enjoying this tale of perseverance and hope.
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Individually the 3 stories are interesting.  The connection between the three was obvious very early in the book. However the stories and the connection were not explored deeply or with much meaning.   I would suggest this book for young adults, ages 14 and up.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced readers copy of The Braid.    I absolutely loved this book!  I am always fascinated by  the  ways in which  we are all connected across borders and cultures.  This book tells the story of  three different resolute women who are each facing their own personal tragedy.  In India, Smita is mother fighting to give her daughter a better life. In Sicily, Guila is a young woman planning on taking over the family business of wig making.  In Montreal, Sarah is a high powered attorney and single mom. Although these women could not be more unconnected, their experiences bind them in beautiful tale of courage and hope.  I could not put this down and it was a quick read. My only complaint is that it was too short.  The writing style was different but I think  this was due to the fact that  it was originally written in French and  translated to English.  Highly recommend this book!
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What a wonderfully woven world Laetitia has written. Three women who may never meet are entwined together in the end.  Although difficult to stomach such a world we still live in, The Braid sets these women free. A 2019 must read.  I would love The Braid to be added to  high school students English curriculum. What an eye opener.
Thank you for the privilege of this ARC.
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A really touching story from such different walks of life and connections. I appreciated how much you could feel each of the characters stories, what a hard task that would be to write so convincingly of different cultures. I also enjoyed how there was no dialogue, an interesting thought.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an advance copy of this book which has been an international bestseller.  It fits into the classification of Women's literature. 

 It explores the lives and situations of three very different women, widely separated by social class, work, traditions, culture and geography. 

 Smita is a young Dalit (untouchable), wife and mother. Her fate was to be born into the often despised lowest caste in India. The Dalit caste performs the most repugnant, dirtiest work for no set wages, and Smita and her family live in extreme poverty. Smita has the filthy job of cleaning up human waste. Her husband works as a rat catcher, and their daily meal sometimes features cooked rat. Smita dreads the thought of training her intelligent and pretty young daughter to carry out the same work and is determined that the girl will receive an education and not end up illiterate like her parents. 

 Guilia lives in Sicily and is content working long hours in her father’s wig-making shop.  She enjoys the fellowship of the women working alongside her. When her father does, she is horrified to learn that the business is on the verge of bankruptcy, and they are in danger of losing not only the business but the family home as well. She is secretly in love with a Sikh immigrant who comes up with an idea to not only save the business but to make it prosper. This will take all of Guilia's strength and determination 

 Sarah is a highly ambitious, workaholic cooperate lawyer living in Montreal, Quebec. She works compulsively at the expense of other pursuits and seems to neglect her children who spend much time in the care of others. She learns she has cancer and keeps this a secret from others as long as possible. 

 I don't know how accurately the story reflects life and culture in present-day India and Sicily, but noticed that the word ’Chum’ was defined as a boyfriend or lover in Canada. No!  While reading the book I was slow to understand why the book focused on three very different women in dissimilar circumstances, but it all tied together nicely at the end. I loved how their stories were interwoven in an emotional conclusion.
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The Braid is "a story of intertwining strands" depicting three courageous women, Smita, Giulia and Sarah. The structure is similar to the recent book I read, The History of Bees by Maja Lunde, where three stories alternate in short chapters. In The Braid, the narratives are told in the third person point of views and there are verses that open and end the book, which take three strands from the skein and knot them together. 

The story of Smita is the most interesting as it deals with a life of an "Untouchable" navigating the society built on the caste system. As my personal memory of train rides in India and the visit to Varanassi is still vivid, Smita's journey feels very realistic. 

Along with the personal struggles of Giulia from Sicily, Italy and Sarah from Montreal, Canada, Smita's story continues a straightforward theme of the book; strong women's determination and courage in difficult times. 

I believe that it will make a great movie.
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When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader.			
I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

In this unforgettable international bestseller, three women from very different circumstances around the world find their lives intertwined by a single object and discover what connects us—across cultures, backgrounds, and borders. 

In India, Smita is an "untouchable". Desperate to give her daughter an education, she takes the child and flees her small village with nothing but her resourcefulness, eventually heading to a temple where she will experience a rebirth.

In Sicily, Giulia works in her father’s wig workshop, the last of its kind in Palermo. She washes, bleaches, and dyes the hair provided by the city’s hairdressers, which is now in short supply. But when her father is the victim of a serious accident, she discovers that the company’s financial situation is dire. Now she must find a way to save her family’s livelihood.

In Montreal, Sarah is a successful lawyer and twice-divorced mother of three children whose identity is wrapped up in her work. Just as she expects a big promotion, her life is shattered when she’s diagnosed with cancer.

A moving novel of hope and renewal, The Braid is a celebration of womanhood and the power of connection and perseverance.

This is the craziest premise on how to connect three character's lives, ever... but it WORKS! I have heard about the hair donations at the temples and how it is not always is fair, monetarily, to say the least, to the donor and that the hair ends up far and wide due to "hair pirates/dealers". This story braids in (sorry, had to be punny) three fascinating women - and of course, there are three women as there are three strands in the braids (or plaits as they call them in the UK/Commonwealth!).  The idea that in this day and age that one can be called "untouchable" due to the caste system in India is insane - "untouchable" should be only applied to heinous members of "Real Housewives" and "Bachelor/Bachelorette" shows 😏

The story is wonderfully crafted, the women fascinating and the stories combine into one wonderful novel that could and should be inhaled by book clubs this fall as there are so many storylines to dissect. Suggested foods:  Gulab Jamun, biscotti and mini tortieres and for drinks: chai tea, espresso and Cidre de Glace. 

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 💇‍♀️ 💇‍♀️ 💇‍♀️ 💇‍♀️ 💇‍♀️
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