Title: The Third Daughter
Author: Talia Carner
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date: September 3, 2019
Source: TLC Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "The turn of the 20th
century finds fourteen-year-old Batya in the Russian countryside,
fleeing with her family endless pogroms. Desperate, her father leaps
at the opportunity to marry Batya to a worldly, wealthy stranger who can
guarantee his daughter an easy life and passage to America.
like a princess in a fairytale, Batya leaves her old life behind as she
is whisked away to a new world. But soon she discovers that she’s
entered a waking nightmare. Her new “husband” does indeed bring her to
America: Buenos Aires, a vibrant, growing city in which prostitution is
not only legal but deeply embedded in the culture. And now Batya is one
of thousands of women tricked and sold into the oldest profession in the
As the years pass, Batya forms deep bonds with her
“sisters” in the brothel as well as some men who are both kind and
cruel. Through it all, she holds onto one dream: to bring her family to
America, where they will be safe from the anti-Semitism that plagues
Russia. Just as Batya is becoming a known tango dancer, she gets an
unexpected but dangerous opportunity—to help bring down the
criminal network that has enslaved so many young women and has been
instrumental in developing Buenos Aires into a major metropolis."
My Two Cents:
In "The Third Daughter," Batya's family is struggling. The Russian Czar is trying to boot all of Jews out of Russia. Batya's family has faced tragedy after tragedy and life is hard. When a stranger appears offering the promise of a new life in America for Batya, her family doesn't think twice about marrying her off in order for her to have a brighter future. Looks can be deceiving though and this stranger has no intention of bringing Batya to America but to South America to be sold into sexual slavery in Buenos Aires. This was a fascinating and wonderfully detailed story of resilience and strength about a time and place that I had very little familiarity with!
One of the things that I most love about historical fiction is the doors that it opens to events that I am not familiar with. In the late 1800s, there were thousands of Eastern European girls that were trafficked to Buenos Aires by Zwi Migdal, a union of pimps in Buenos Aires. The Union was basically allowed to do whatever it wanted with implicit permission of the Argentinian government, who often seemed all too willing to look the other way as the union systematically ruined these young women's lives and stole them away from home.
This book is filled with wonderful characters, including our main character, Batya. Batya is only 14 years old when she is taken away from her family. She is so very young and while trafficking is always a difficult subject to read about, I was particularly struck by it happening to someone so young. Batya is absolutely terrified when she is first separated from her family. She faces so many terrible situations on the way from Europe to Buenos Aires but her inner strength keeps her afloat and she does what she needs to do to survive and eventually get a happy ending.
The events in the book are pretty dark but I am so happy that there are books like this to shed light on some of the darker parts of our shared history. The detail in this book is great and really brings Batya's and so many girls like her stories to life. While the story itself is really great, make sure you read the Author's Note at the end where the author shares her inspiration for the story. Overall, this was a great book!