Raji, Book One: Octavia Pompeii
Cover art by Niki Vukadinova
Now available in paperback
Rajiani Devaki (Raji) is a girl of thirteen from India. On a cold December morning in 1925, Vincent Fusilier (Fuse) finds Raji sleeping in his parents' barn. He thinks she's a vagrant and tells her she has to go. She doesn't understand English and doesn't know where she is, having recently escaped from a house in Queens New York where she had been held for the past nine years as an indentured servant. After Vincent leaves for school, Raji slips into his house to find something to eat. She peeks into the front room and is startled to see a man sitting in a wheelchair. He stares at her but apparently cannot move or speak.
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Reviews of the book
By Evie Alexis at Long Live Chick-Lit
Never before have I read a single work of fiction that addresses familial relationships, teenage angst, racism, corporate corruption and multiculturalism; that is, until I read Ariion Kathleen Brindley’s moving novel, Raji.
The story of a runaway teen discovered in a hardworking adolescent’s farm seems common enough, but upon reading one discovers the novel filled with an indescribable depth and maturity lacking in so many of today’s contemporary stories targeted towards our youth.
Told in third person, the reader gets the perspective of the protagonists, Vincent Fusilier – better known as Fuse – and Rajiani Navana Devaki, and one would be hard pressed not to fall for the charms found in each unique character. Incredibly mature for their age, they are both united by hardships teenagers should not have to know. Both possess dedication and loyalty to family and friends, and are highly gifted, Raji in particular. Her acquisition of two languages should motivate any second (and third) language learner.
As the reader delves more into Fuse’s world, an entire host of colorful characters are introduced. There is the warm and passionate Julia Smithers, a nurse who watches after Fuse’s invalid father, William, Julia’s caring and helpful son, and Doctor Octavia Pompeii, a small but fiery woman who sets things in motion for the youngsters. When all the characters are present in one room, the emotions jump from the page. The novel would be incomplete without the rakes and thugs, who add their own worth to this novel, reminding the reader how corruption and greed can ruin the best of men.
Brindley has created a timelessly sensitive novel. The profundity of this story took me by surprise, and I savored the underlying message: our differences only separate us if we choose them to. Much can be learned by the friendship between Fuse and Raji. True romantic that I am, I found them united by much more than just friendship, but that’s just my take.
This story should be added to the Recommended Reading list for the general public.
By Jill at Frugal Plus
Fuse and Raji are brought together by teenage hardships, and a horse named, Handsome Randsom. Animals always have a way of paving a path of friendship. Both are mature beyond their adolescent years. Fuse is going to school, helping take care of his chronically ill father, and making sure that everything is taken care of on the farm. Raji is having to deal with terrible discrimination on almost a daily basis, learning the English language with the help of Fuse while teaching him a few words of Hindi at the same time, and deciphering her own beliefs and opinions of India’s cultures.
The other characters bring a piquant flavor ..
Julia Smithers, a nurse who watches after Fuse’s father, William, Julia’s helpful son, and Doctor Octavia Pompeii, a small-framed, caring but fiery woman.
You will take from this book lessons to be learned, strength, and friendship. I will be passing this Novel on to my daughter to read!
A Special Thanks goes out to Ariion for the opportunity to review this Novel on what a true friendship should be about.
By Sandra K. Stiles at Amazon.com
The year is 1925. Vincent fusiler (Fuse) finds a young girl sleeping in his barn. He tells her to leave and she runs into the woods only to return when he is gone. She sneaks into his house to steal food. Fuse once again finds her in the barn where she has taken care of the animals. She is eventually brought into the house where she learns to trust him. Fuse's father has had an accident and is paralyzed and his mother is a Red Cross nurse currently in Africa. Fuse needs to get his mother back, find out where Raji came from, and find someone to help his father and him with the farm. All the time Fuse is trying to handle all of this he is trying to get in to an elite academy by keeping his grades up, learning to play competition chess and tennis. I really enjoyed this book. I was caught up in it because Fuse took charge and found a way to communicate with Raji. Both of them learn new languages. Raji was learning English and Latin as they study medical medical information and Fuse learned Hindi and Latin. I have heard people tell me how silly that was because these were two young kids and there was no way they would be able to learn that many languages at one time. I teach ESOL students English and often have these students learn not only English but they become friends with someone else who speaks a different language and therefore pick up their language as well. The information about India and their caste system was well researched. I know there will be sequels and I look forward to reading them.
By Children's Bookwatch at Midwest Book Review
When Vincent Fusilier discovers a young girl sleeping in his parents' barn, he assumes she's a Gypsy and orders her to leave. Her name is Raji and she doesn't understand English or even knows where she is. But over the next few months the two teenagers strive to understand each other, their languages, and their cultures. A deftly written novel for teen readers and a highly recommended addition to community library collections and personal reading lists, "Raji" is an engaging story from first page to last and once again documents Arrion Kathleen Brindley as a gifted storyteller.
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