3 out of 4 stars
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An Unexpected Mess by Marie Washtag comes under the genre of other fiction. This story deals with the themes of war refugees, slavery, and human trafficking. Marta had grown up in Serbia but fled to Hungary when the war broke out and now was trying to establish a new life in Spain. She became a pawn in the hands of individuals who took advantage of her to enrich themselves.
Marta left her home country when war broke out and found work in Spain. She saw her life as a blank, white page that she wanted to fill with beautiful experiences. Her ability to speak several languages helped her land a job with a tourist company. She met Attila, who fell in love with her and won her heart. They began planning their wedding. Her husband and his friend, Pedro, were planning to film the consumption of the marriage and sell the photos for a large payment. Before these plans could be carried out, several men broke into the room and kidnapped Marta. They transported her to another city, and we read about her life as a captive with no documents and unable to speak the language. Is there any hope for Marta or is she doomed to a life of slavery? Is there any way out of this prison?
I especially enjoyed the author's portrayal and development of Marta. Her love of life, enjoyment of freedom, and happy disposition set the tone for a contented lifestyle. I fell in love with Marta and the joy she expressed in the simple pleasures of life. This created a contrast with the horror she experienced when she became the target of the evil plans of her ruthless acquaintances.
The setting of the story is Spain. The primary tourist attractions of San Sebastian, Malaga, Barcelona, Granada, and Madrid fill the pages of the book, carrying the reader to the cultural and historical sites of each city. The author's beautiful descriptions inspired me to research many of the places mentioned.
I struggled with the lack of quotation marks to indicate speech as this created confusion during lengthier discussions. The numerous spelling and punctuation errors also slowed the reading flow.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This story keeps the reader engaged with its captivating story line that contemplates the precarious situation of refugees. Marta's experience evoked a wide range of emotions that kept me riveted to the story until the dramatic end. I deducted one star for the reasons mentioned above. Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers and suspense novels will breeze through this short novel of only 115 pages. There are a few scenes of a sexual nature that would be inappropriate for younger or sensitive readers.
An Unexpected Mess
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