I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.The Yard by Aliyyah Eniath
Published by Speaking Tiger Books
Publication Date: Apr. 10, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, World or cultural
Setting: North America > Trinidad
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon Kindle* | Amazon Paperback*
The Yard by Aliyyah Eniath is a dark family saga set in Trinidad surrounding an Indian Muslim family living in a familial complex. Living in such close proximity means family relationships are tested, secrets are hard to keep and forgiveness is even harder to earn. Can forbidden love endure through the duty that culture, faith and family impose?
“A story of love and redemption, set in Trinidad, that exposes the fault lines in Indo-Muslim culture. Behrooz is brought to a familial complex, The Yard, to live with a devout and extended family, where he struggles to belong. He forms a childish alliance with Maya, a willful and rebellious girl, and his guardian’s daughter. After they share a night of adolescent tenderness, Maya, fearing retribution, flees to London. Behrooz painstakingly rebuilds his life and marries another. When tragedy strikes, Maya returns to her childhood home. There, she and Behrooz must face up to old demons. Can their love endure? Even after Maya is dealt the most righteous blow of all?
Praise for The Yard:
A haunting tale of family, commitment, love…and being true to yourself. –Roslyn Carrington, author of A Thirst for Rain
The author’s voice speaks in warm and sometimes cold filmic pictures of the universal language of love, honour, commitment, belief and family. When a remote outsider, a young boy, is drawn into and under the beguiling machinations of a devout extended family, there’s disruption in their cultural fabric and hierarchy, that challenges the decisions of a determined young girl’s head and heart. –Peter Jarrette – Author of Brighton Babylon
On a gem of an island, in a private family enclave, boy — orphaned, rough, longing for acceptance — meets girl — sophisticated, manipulative, afraid of tenderness. The Yard is a sensitive tale of romance, hurt and forgiveness skillfully spun by emergent author Aliyyah Eniath. –Barbara Bamberger Scott — Editor, A Woman’s Write”
This book was not at all what I expected. From the synopsis, I expected that the love story between Behrooz and Maya would take center stage on the beautiful island of Trinidad. Instead, I found that the story focused more on the family dynamic which made this an intense and dark family saga, at least to me.
Maya’s family and her father’s brothers and sisters’ families all live in separate houses within a small community, the family calls “The Yard”. Families are expected to stay in the Yard and besides school and work, there is little social interaction with outsiders. The Yard seems more like a military compound than a family community governed by the elders who are very strong (and dare I say, judgmental) in their cultural and religious beliefs. There were a couple likeable characters but the rest of the family drove me nuts.
In fact, I think the focus on the family drama stressed me out as I read. The drama evoked in me some painful memories, conflicting thoughts and downright anger at the closed-mindedness of some of the characters. Clearly the book was written well to evoke such an emotional response for me but the negativity of it all left me sad.
I’m still trying to figure out why The Yard triggered such a powerful response. Maybe it’s that being Indian myself, I could empathize with the pressures put on Behrooz and Maya, fighting against their feelings in the name of their family’s honor. Maybe it’s because I am a forty-something year old woman who is always growing and learning and it drives me insane when people think they know it all. Maybe it’s that I was teased as a child for my dark skin or the fact that people have preconceived notions about me without knowing the invisible battle I fight daily.
The Yard was filled with unlikeable characters and impossible situations. I never really knew which way the story would go but I had hope that the characters would earn the forgiveness and redemption they sought and it kept me reading until the end.
I have not given a star rating for this one because honestly, I really can’t decide how I feel about The Yard. While my initial instinct is that the drama was too stressful for me to enjoy it, the fact is I did immerse myself in the story (maybe a little too much) and this book has really got me thinking as often the difficult, challenging and worthwhile books do.
I think readers who can casually observe the story as it unfolds in front of them or readers who want to learn about Trinidad or Indo-Muslim culture may enjoy The Yard. For emotional readers like me who immerse themselves in the story, it may be a more intense reading experience. I bet this would make an interesting book club discussion book because it is not a book everyone will love or everyone will dislike. But all hope is not lost, just wait till I tell you my thoughts on the setting…
What I loved about this book was learning more about Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean, and how the Indian population is segmented there by faith. I was interested in learning the Trinidad history and the practices and beliefs of Indian Muslims. While writing this review, I learned that the author was born in Trinidad and of Indian descent and the authenticity comes through in the story.
Travel the World in Book Reading Challenge – Trinidad
Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge – author and characters are of Asian Indian descent
Be sure to stop by these other bloggers’ tour stops to see what they have to say about The Yard!
Tuesday, September 6th: Book by Book
Wednesday, September 7th: Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, September 8th: G. Jacks Writes
Monday, September 12th: Show This Book Some Love
Tuesday, September 13th: Chaos is a Friend of Mine
Thursday, September 15th: #redhead.with.book
Wednesday, September 14th: Real Life Reading
Tuesday, September 20th: The Book Chick
Wednesday, September 21st: Lit and Life
Monday, September 26th: Book Chatter
Wednesday, September 28th: Mom’s Small Victories – that’s me and you’re already here!
Friday, September 30th: Dreaming Big