Title: The Taken
Author: Casey Kelleher
Pub. Date: 10/5/2015
When you’ve lost everything, you’ll do anything to survive.
Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.
Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed by his own sinister secrets. As the sickening truth is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life – and her baby’s.
When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?
I was really looking forward to reading The Taken after reading such rave reviews. Being new to the blogging world, I was so excited when Bookouture through NetGalley approved my request for this book! All of my expectations held true; this book was great.
The Taken revolves around three separate characters and storylines. First is Saskia. After her father passes, she is unwillingly enters the world of ‘dancing’ in order to keep what remains of him: their home. Then there is Lena, kidnapped at an early age and forced into a marriage of pure hatred. The only thing that keeps her going is her baby girl, Roza. The last is Colin, who has a very disturbing secret that isn’t revealed until the end. And when I say disturbing, it is one of the most disturbing revelations I think I’ve ever read about. Nothing can prepare you for this!
All of the stories are tied together, we just don’t learn how until the end. The author did a great job of interweaving the characters and when I finally learned how everything came together, I was very pleased.
What I liked most about the book was the development of the main characters. I had a great liking for Lena and Saskia, both very strong females. Lena never gives up hope, she remains strong for herself and her baby. I kept thinking what I would have done if I was in a similar situation. I don’t know if I could have carried on and taken the risks she does in order to survive. What I could identify with was the love and need to protect her daughter. There was a scene early on where her baby is taken away from her for a short amount of time, literally stripped from her arms. She has to watch her mother-in-law walk out of the room with her baby, while she is left helpless. This tugged at my heart. As a mother, I cannot imagine either of my children ever taken away from me…ever. And I literally do not know what I would do if that were to ever happen. My heart when out to Lena at that moment, and stayed with her throughout the book.
At one point, the author describes the streets of London. I’ll be honest, one of my number one places to visit before I die is London. I think like most people, I have an image of London being glamorous, sophisticated, clean. The author does a fantastic job of painting another picture of how some of the streets of London truly are in reality. Just like every other major city, there are slums. There is an underworld of greed and poverty. I loved her realism. The story and characters were raw, very real and flawed – two characteristics that make a truly great book.
The Taken is not for the faint of heart. It is disturbing and real in so many ways. I went in with an open mind, prepared for the worst. I’m glad I did. It made for a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I would like to send a special thank you to Bookouture for giving me a copy of this book for my unbiased and honest opinion!