This is a very sad fictional story that is actually based on real life events. The characters in this book are all fictional too , but people like them do exist. The story is about a migrant worker who leaves her home and family behind to find a better life for them all.
Songbirds is set in Cyprus and the migrant worker came from Sri Lanka .
But all is not as good as it first seems because the woman in the story goes missing at the start of the book. Then we are taken on a journey of what her life was like before she went missing and how she ended up working in a foreign country.
The book also gives us some idea on how the locals treat migrant workers because they do not know the background to their lives and they think they are heartless women who leave their families behind in the search for money.
So when one of them goes missing, nobody seems to care, apart from the people who have got close to her.
There are only a handful of characters in this story which is told through the narrative of Petra and Yiannis. These are the people who are closest to Nisha, the young woman who went missing at the start of the story.
There are other characters involved who play small, but important parts in the story.
Yiannis is the first character feature in the book and he opens the story by telling the readers that Nisha has vanished as if into thin air.
Yiannis is Nisha`s lover who, by coincidence , proposed to her just before she vanished. This in itself posed a tricky situation for Nisha because , as a maid, she was not supposed to have a life of her own outside work, especially not a romantic life. However, Yiannis was having problems of his own because he had been breaking the law by catching songbirds and selling them to restaurants . He was in it up to his neck because he belonged to an organised crime ring where he could not give up the poaching without endangering himself or his home.
Nisha had known about the poaching and she wanted him to give it up. So when Yiannis proposed to Nisha , he offered to leave Cyprus and take her back to her daughter and mother ,who were living in Sri Lanka, and start a new life.
Petra was Nisha`s employer and she was an optician by trade. Petra was a young widow with a young daughter. Her husband had died just before the daughter was born, and it was just after this that Petra realised she needed help around the house if she was going to cope alone with her baby daughter and a career.
Petra was not a cruel employer and when Nisha first went to work for her she was surprised at how comfortable her living arrangements were going to be. However, Petra was the sort of boss who stuck by the rules and she made Nisha work long hard hours as maids were expected to.
When Nisha gave up her one day a week off to accompany Petra and her daughter on an outing, Petra refused to let Nisha have the evening off instead.
It was after this last evening of work that Nisha first went missing.
Nisha was a migrant worker who had gone to Cyprus from Sri Lanka after she had lost her husband in an accident. She had a two year old daughter who she left behind with her mother.
Nisha decided to leave Sri Lanka and work abroad because she had heard that the money was better than working locally. She had tried to work nearer home but the money was not enough for her to support her daughter, mother and herself, even though she worked long hours.
So it was with a heavy heart that she took on the job of working for Petra because it also meant that she would be helping to raise another woman`s child while leaving her own behind. The only contact she had with her own daughter and mother for ten years was through the internet.
The migrant workers
The author was inspired to write this book because she had heard a story about migrant workers going missing in real life. So then she decided to find out more about these people who travel from place to place to find work. These migrant workers are mainly women who work as domestic servants, but are expected to do other duties like childcare and helping with family businesses when they work for a family who run a shop or some other commercial enterprise. They really do work very hard working long hours, they mostly live in with the families that they serve, so they are at their beck and call all the time. Some of these women do not see their own families for years, including their own children.
My first impression of `Songbirds'
My first impression of this book was that I liked the colour and design of the cover. To begin with, I thought it may be about people who were singers ( hence songbirds) or maybe it was about people who kept birds, so when I stated to read it , I discovered what it was really about, I was in for a surprise.
My opinion of this book.
Although I normally prefer to read stories that take place in the UK, I am glad that I read `Songbirds'. I feel that I have learned a lot from this book about the lives of the migrant workers. I also liked meeting the characters in the book because they felt like real people with real life problems.
Lady Dazy (author) from UK on July 08, 2021:
Not sure what you mean by` triggering subjects'. I have not heard of this before.
Athena Barroga Perez from Philippines on July 06, 2021:
This book looks very interesting. May I just ask if there are any triggering subjects within it?
Lady Dazy (author) from UK on June 29, 2021:
Thank you, I hope you enjoy the book if you do read it .But be warned, parts of it are very sad and may be slightly disturbing for some readers.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 27, 2021:
I was also drawn to the beautiful book cover. Thanks for introducing this book. You did a good job of making me want to read it, being familiar with the experience of immigrants. Sad in some cases. Good job!