Happy Friday! I decided on Fridays that I'm going to give away books that have something to do with City of a Thousand Dolls in some way. And first up is a copy of Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson.
This one one of the books I read when I was trying to figure out how to do justice to the complexity and richness of a different culture. I read a lot of research books but I also wanted to read novels that dealt with an Indian or South Asian setting to see how other people handled it. And this lovely fairy-tale retelling was one of my favorites. (I checked it out of the library the first time I read it, but in a nice bit of serendipity, it was also one of the first books my editor sent me.)
Summary from Goodreads
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.
It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.
Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?
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This contest is international. Contest ends midnight PST, on January 18th.