BOOK CLUB: The Girl in the Orphanage

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[Total: 4 Average: 4.5]

The Girl in the Orphanage by Robert Barclay is an excellent read. It’s a murder mystery packed with action and suspense. 

The story is fictional and set in Cambodia. It is a very thought provoking read, highlighting the plight of children in a country where there is poverty and no child protection laws. The story also highlights the agencies and aid workers who are working tirelessly to protect the children and bring about change.

Katy Yehonala lives peacefully in Melbourne caring for her tourist attraction, The Red Peony Garden. Her husband Simon is away in Cambodia where he runs a charity, The Sunlight Foundation. He has campaigned for years to raise the plight of children sold into the sex trafficking trade. Their daughter, Clara, is a world famous concert pianist. Clara now lives in Paris but is still a Chinese citizen where they consider her a national treasure.

A knock at the door by two Australian federal police officers shatters Katy’s world. Her husband Simon has been murdered in a remote Cambodian border village. 

Katy discovers Simon has been writing a story, “Chavy’s Story”, and it is unfinished. It is compelling, and Katy now wishes she had been more involved in Simon’s charity work.

She knows Simon would wish to be buried in the land he loved, Cambodia.

Katy and Clara arrive in Cambodia, firstly to organise Simon’s funeral and secondly to find answers to their many questions and get to the truth of Simon’s murder.

The Cambodian government, the Australian embassy, the federal police and the Chinese embassy all want Katy and Clara to leave, they don’t want them investigating and snooping around.

What is it they are trying to hide from them? Can they trust anyone?

The story is written in a way that you feel as if you are right there with Katy and Clara, these two amazing and strong women who will keep investigating until they find the truth. Their journey takes them into a world of danger, lies and bribes, crime and murder, drugs and betrayals. Also, rather surprisingly love!

The book is the second novel in the Butterfly Dynasty series. It follows on from “The Diary of Katy Yehonala”. It is not necessary to have read the first book, as this book stands alone well.              

I thoroughly recommend this book.  It is well written, on a subject well researched, with plenty of action to keep you engaged as you put all the pieces of the puzzle together.          

The book is a nominee for the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Thank you to Shawline Publishing Group and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book. 

A selection of Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Girl in the Orphanage. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.      

17 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Girl in the Orphanage

  1. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘The girl in the orphanage by Robert Barclay’
    When Katy’s husband and Clara’s father (Simon) dies through violence in Cambodia a mystery begins to be unravelled. Why are the Cambodian, Australian and Chinese governments becoming involved in the families grieving process, is there something more that is going on?
    Katy and Clara work together to unravel the journey Simon was on with his charity work, facing danger, corruption and lies whilst finding truth in unexpected places. I enjoyed the book although I would have preferred to read more about Chavy, her sister, and the other children from the orphanage and less about Clara’s love life. Thank you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ for the opportunity to read ‘The girl in the orphanage by Robert Barclay’.

  2. Dear Donna. Thank you for the kind review of The Girl in the Orphanage. The series books do, I hope, stand alone as complete stories and contain a thread leading to the next (Rangsei appears again in the next book). I wrote a reply to Veronica, above, with more thoughts about the development of the series and the characters Katy and Clara, which may address your point about Clara’s love life I hope will be helpful. Best regards, Robert

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